THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS: THAT HE MIGHT BRING US TO GOD
By Wayne Camp
TEXT: 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.
This is one of several messages I have preached from the text in the Sunday morning services at Pilgrims Hope Baptist Church. In past messages we considered The singleness of Christ's sufferings based on the words "once suffered." To the Jewish Christians this must have been a marvelous thing. One sacrifice forever to put away sins. They had been accustomed to sacrifices that were repeated over and over again.
We then noted The cause of Christ's sufferings. He suffered "for sins." He came to lay down his life to save his people from their sins. John 1:29 Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
The third message had to do with The substitutionary nature of Christ's sufferings. He died the "just for the unjust." He did not die for his own sins for he was impeccably sinless. He did no sin; he could not sin. To sin he was not able and he was able not to sin.
In a future message we will look at The boundaries of Christ's sufferings. He was "put to death in the flesh." There was nothing of his deity that suffered in his death. The purpose of his incarnation was to have a body, blood, and a soul that could be offered to God for sin. Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same. It was his human soul that was made an offering for sin. Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. It was his human body that was broken for us. 1 Corinthians 11:24 Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. It was his human blood that was shed for many for the remission of sins. Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
In another message we will look at The victory of Christ in and over his sufferings. The Spirit sustained him in his humanity so that he could endure what was necessary for the salvation of his people. The Spirit quickened him because it was not possible that death should be holden of him. I still get a thrill every time I read those triumphant words of Jesus, "It is finished. It is accomplished." And, after three days in the grave during which his body saw no corruption, he was raised up by the same Spirit's power who will also quicken our mortal bodies. There was victory for Jesus and we have victory in Jesus.
In this message we well be looking at the portion of the verse which shows The Purpose of The Death of Christ. It gracious, glorious and grand purpose was "That he might bring us to God" Roll those words around on your spiritual tongues as you would roll a delicious peace of perfectly seasoned and cooked steak over your tongue so that the taste buds can savor ever bit of its savory deliciousness. "That he might bring us to God." What a wonderful blessing is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord.
THIS SPEAKS OF A GREAT SEPARATION THAT EXISTS BETWEEN GOD AND THE SINNER
If you doubt that a great gulf separates the sinner from the Holy God of heaven consider the cost of bringing us to God. The eternal Word must cloth himself in the likeness of sinful flesh to bring us to God. The one who must humble himself to behold things in heaven and earth must suffer the infinite humiliation of being made sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. The one who knew no sin must endure the contradiction of sinners that he might bring us to God. This infinite price which he paid in his humiliation, deprivation, suffering, and death speaks of the vastness of this gulf that separates the sinner. If any would be saved we must be brought to God by none less than the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us that sin has separated us from God. Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. Sin has caused God to hide his face from us. Deuteronomy 32:19-20 And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters. 20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith. Sin has caused God to be for from us. Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous. Sin has caused us to be far from God. Psalm 73:27 For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
This utter separation that exists is exemplified in the state of our Gentile forefathers. Ephesians 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. I tremble inwardly each and every time I read the passage in which our verse is found. For at least four thousand years of human history God left our Gentile forefathers to themselves and the imaginations of their own evil hearts. They were without Christ, without God, and without hope. They were strangers from the covenants of promise and aliens to the commonwealth of Israel.
But, thank God it is not so today. Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. We Gentiles are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Why did he suffer? "That he might bring us to God."
This also suggests the enmity that exists between God and man because of our sins. In our natural, unregenerate state we are in opposition to God and he to us. Psalm 34:16 The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The carnal mind of man is enmity against God and is in such rebellion against him and his law that we, in our natural state, could not even be subject to the law of God. Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. This enmity caused us to be incapable, in our natural state, of pleasing God. Romans 8:88 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
This also suggests our perilous and perishing condition before we are brought to God through Christ. We were without spiritual life. John 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. We were spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. We were condemned. John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. We were alienated and enemies of God. Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. We were alienated from the life that is in God. Ephesians 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart. We were by nature the children of wrath even as were the non-elect, those vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. Ephesians 2:2-3 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
THIS SPEAKS OF THE RECONCILIATION THAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED
This portion of our verse"that he might bring us to God"speaks of the reconciliation that was accomplished in the death of Christ. We were reconciled to God through the death of his Son. Romans 5:8-10 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. We were enabled to inherit the kingdom of God through the death of Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. We who were foreigners are now fellowcitizens with the saints and are in the household of God because of what Christ accomplished in his death. Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.
What a change has been wrought; we were strangers, foreigners, not citizens. In Christ, the just one, being put to death for us, the unjust one, we are now fellowcitizens with saints. We who were children of disobedience and wrath are not members in the household and family of God. We who were foolish, disobedient, who lived in malice and envy hating one another have been made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
God was in Christ reconciling an alienated world to himself through the death of his beloved Son. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.
THIS SPEAKS OF A WONDERFUL PEACE WHICH HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO US
This portion of our verse also speaks of the wonderful peace that we have with God through Christ's substitutionary death. There is no peace with God except through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:8-11 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
In bringing us to God Jesus has slain the enmity and reconciled us to God. Ephesians 2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby. Through his reconciliation, we who were sinners and enemies are now presented holy and unblamable in his sight. Colossians 1:20-22 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.
It was sin that separated us and alienated us from God and it was reconciliation for those sins that enabled Christ to bring us to God. Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
THIS SHOWS US THAT THERE IS BUT ONE WAY TO GOD
That Christ suffered the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God shows that there is but one way to God and that is through the substitutionary death of Christ. "That he might bring us to God." There are not ten ways, five ways, nor two ways. There is only one way to God and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is he who suffered "that he might bring us to God."
The very necessity that he so suffer indicates that there was and is no other way. 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. I think of those words of God to the Galatians. Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. If there were any other way for us to be brought to God the death of Christ was vain, useless, worthless, without purpose. But our text speaks otherwise. He must suffer and die for sins that he might bring us to God.
Therefore it is written that one cannot deny the Son and still have the Father. 1 John 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. It is also declared that one cannot have life without the Son. 1 John 5:10-12 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
Moreover, it is written that one cannot know the Father except through the Son. Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Except the Son reveals the Father to us we would never know the Father. We are shut up to but one way and he has died "that he might bring us to God.
God has decreed and determined that there shall be no salvation except through his Son. Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. He has determined that there shall be no access to himself except through the Son. Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Those seek to come to God any other way will be lost; those who come to God by him are saved to the uttermost. Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Through him we can draw near to God with a true heart full of assurance. Hebrews 10:19-22 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
The only way our hope can be in God is through the foreordained death of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:18-21 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Let us be reminded once more that there is no way to sing with the redeemed in glory except through the redemption that is in Christ. Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.
It is he, and only he, who can bring us to God. Being brought to God is a wonderful blessing. And none can be or will be brought to God except through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. Without him we can do nothing to come to God.
If you have sought to come any other way you are lost for no one comes to the Father but by Jesus Christ. Come to Christ and he will bring you all the way to the Father.
Once more, remember that Christ died, the just, being put to death in the flesh for the unjust "that he might bring us to God."
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Updated Friday, March 04, 2011