“Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18, RSV)
Peter realized that many Christian people would be called upon to suffer because of their loyalty but he wanted to assure them that Christ had gone before them and had suffered too. Christ suffered for sin, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God.
Here is the atonement in a nutshell: Mankind was unrighteous and had no merit of his own by which he could atone for his wrongdoing. The penalty of sin is death so that man had nothing to look forward to except eternal death. But Christ stepped in. He had no sin of His own to be suffered for. God appointed Him to the task of offering Himself to pay the penalty for mankind’s sin. Jesus accomplished God’s purpose on the cross.
Here we see a love that reached out to the undeserving, the unworthy, the unlovable. But although the salvation that His sacrifice provides is freely bestowed, it is nevertheless conditional. It is conditioned on our accepting it in faith that trusts Christ to do for us what we could never do for ourselves.
O Lord, our Father, we are so thankful that Thou didst love us so much that Christ came into the world to suffer in our stead that we might know salvation. We pray that our response may be that of complete trust and complete commitment to Thy will. Through Christ, we pray.
- J. P. SANDERS, Las Vegas, Nevada
A mighty Fortress is our God,