“who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24, NKJV)
WWJD poses a legitimate question for those who count themselves disciples and seek to emulate their Lord. What would Jesus do? It’s a natural and necessary question for those who belong to the Kingdom of God. What ambitions, attitudes, activities, and priorities should characterize us? We begin our answer by looking to Jesus. As Peter has just reminded us regarding suffering, our Lord Jesus suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we might follow in His steps.
There are those ways, however, where we are not to be like Jesus and indeed we cannot be. Peter goes on to say that Jesus “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24).
Christ alone atoned for sin. While we are to die to sin and live for righteousness, we are in no way acting as a substitute, representing others as did our Lord Jesus.
But it is in Christ’s redeeming work that we have been freed from sin’s penalty and from sin’s power, and will one day be freed from sin’s presence. As Peter puts it, we have been healed by Christ’s suffering work on our behalf. Our suffering for righteousness’ sake merits nothing, certainly not for others but not even for ourselves. Jesus paid it all. All to Him we owe.
Our pursuit of righteousness is a reflection of our newness in Christ and reorientation to life. “For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Pet. 2:25). Our lives in Christ demonstrate a before and an after, a then and a now. We were straying, going our own way, lost and alone but by God’s grace we have returned not merely to safety but to Him who laid down His life for us and who watches over us.
REFLECTION: We exercise the obedience of love because Christ loved us and died for us.
Unless noted otherwise, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.