by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 4 Study # 6 February 7, 2010 Lincolnton, N.C.
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
1901 ASV Translation:
24 who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were going astray like sheep; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
I. Peter's Move Into the Particulars.
A. He specifically addresses the "household servants".
B. He also specifically outlines the "relationship": the "service" is rendered to a "master".
C. He is without hesitation in his "command": be in submission.
D. He also gives the parameters.
1. Not only to the good and gentle ...
2. But also to the "froward" ...
E. Peter's Rationale.
1. The need to understand "grace" is only met by "unjust suffering".
2. There is no "fame", or revelation of grace from God, if "suffering" is judicially deserved.
3. It is our "calling" to graciously endure injustice.
4. The King's particular example.
a. He did no sin.
b. He was not "found" with any level of "deceit" in His mouth.
c. When He was "reviled", He did not return the abuse in kind.
d. When He was subjected to injustice as suffering, He made no threats.
e. He simply submitted Himself to "the Righteous Judge".
f. He, Himself, "bare" our sins in His body upon the "tree".
1) The issue of His dealings with our sins is the issue of the New Testament use of the word so translated. It is used as the descriptive word for "offering a sacrifice" in Hebrews 7:27; 9:28; and 13:15 and both James (2:21) and Peter (2:5 as well as this text) pick up on that same content.
a) The word "bare" is also used in the New Testament three times to present the idea of a person, or persons, being "moved" from one geographical location to another. This gives us the general sense of the word: something is moved from one "location" to another. In respect to "our sins", the picture is of "sins", which are "attached" to us, being removed to some other place.
b) There is very likely a direct link in Peter's thought between what Jesus did and what the "scapegoat" pictured in the activities of the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:5-22) did, with the difference being that Jesus fulfilled the function of both goats as both "sacrifice" and "bearer" in regard to the sins.
2) The place of His activity, "upon the tree", is also significant.
a) The word, "tree", is used in the New Testament to refer to "wood", not "trees" per se. The uses are in texts that refer to things made out of wood (wooden clubs/staves, Roman crosses, the "stocks" used for prisoners to keep them tightly regulated in their imprisonment, trees, expensive wood, the Tree of Life, etc.).
b) In respect to Christ and the "tree", however, Paul makes a point in Galatians 3:13 of declaring that Jesus was "cursed" because He was "hung on a tree".
c) The New Testament consensus is that Jesus' death on the cross was both "illustration" and "actual fulfillment" of a substitutionary atonement in which one serves as a legitimate substitute for another in a legal setting.
3) At the core of this declaration is one reality: Jesus actually, and objectively (without our involvement at any level), resolved the Judicial problem of sins going unavenged. That He did this "for the sins of the whole world" is declared (1 John 2:2) as an objective reality. But, that His action does not result in the salvation of "the whole world" is also declared in multiple places (Matthew 7:13 being one of them). [Those "Calvinists" who want to pull my hair out because of this statement need to ask themselves why John defined his terminology of "the whole world" in 1 John5:19 as "lying in wickedness" in direct oppostion to the prior phrase "we are of God" before they seek to take my hair. There is no legitimate way to corrupt John's meaning that "the whole world" is that body of humanity that is outside of the body of humanity that is defined as the "we" who "are of God" and "lies in the power of the wicked one"].
a) This raises the fundamental issue of human participation (the subjective side of the issue): what is it that allows the objective work of Jesus to actually affect a specific individual human being?
b) Paul's clarion answer is "faith", but Peter's is couched in different terms. His terms are [you] "are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls".
c) At the root of Peter's terminology is this question: How does an objective act by Christ generate a "death to sin" for the one who subjectively "returns"? What is it that "happens" in the "believer" that actually generates the kind of "death to sin" that empowers a "life to righteousness"? Clearly it is not simply a matter of "faith" or "returning" because those issues are "law of my mind" matters that Paul plainly declared could not dominate the "law of sin" in his members (Romans 7:23). Just as clearly, the doctrine of the indwelling Spirit of God as One Who imparts "power" that does not exist in the natural human is involved even if Peter does not directly address it in his wording.
g. His objective was to enable our "Life" by inserting righteousness between us and those sins (by His stripes, ye were healed).
h. He stands as the "shepherd" and "overseer" of our souls as we "return" from the mindless wandering of lost sheep.