Last Sunday Reverend Doctor Gareth Edwards preached from 1 Peter chapter 3 verse 18. The Christians of the time knew great suffering and Peter encouraged them to think of Christ’s suffering. The Christians suffered unjustly, following in the steps of their Lord. He also suffered unjustly. Peter encouraged them to look to Jesus for hope, comfort, joy and strength. He died for the forgiveness of our sins and we will share in His Glory. The suffering of Christians can never compare to the depth of the suffering of Christ. Christ’s suffering was sufficient suffering, it was substitutionary suffering and it was successful suffering.
Christ suffered once for sin. This draws a contrast with the Old Testament sacrificial system which offered daily sacrifices – for centuries blood flowed. In Passover alone a quarter of a million sheep would have been sacrificed. But Christ suffered once, one sacrifice. Once does not require any repetition; it is valid for ever. Jesus gave out His triumphant cry, “It is finished!” Hebrews 10: 11-16. Christ offered a single sacrifice for sin and sat down at the right hand of God. In His death Christ satisfied the righteousness of God. He paid in full, completely cleansing the sin of those who believe in Him. There is full atonement. His suffering was more than enough for our salvation. He purchased forgiveness for us. He alone draws us into a living relationship with our maker. Acts 4:12 It doesn’t matter how great your sin has been – Jesus’ death is sufficient enough to wash away your guilt. Don’t beat yourself up, you need to trust in Him.
1 Peter 2:24 Christ Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree. He is the righteous one, He takes our place. 2 Corinthians 5:21 Our salvation depends on two things: Jesus’ ability to pay for our sins and His willingness to pay. He demonstrated this with His voluntarily giving on the cross on our behalf. He died at the hands of men who falsely accused Him, He died for sinful men who deserved to be condemned by Him. He unjustly suffered for us who deserve eternal condemnation. Christians suffer unjustly but it is nothing compared to the suffering of Christ. His suffering was in our place. He substituted Himself for me. The penalty for our sin, which is death, has been paid by the Saviour because of His infinite love for us. We died 2000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ. His finished work is the basis of our salvation. In His suffering Jesus took my place, my place personally. He has a personal interest in the salvation of each one of us because He has a personal love for each one of us. Do you know Him? No matter what you suffer it is nothing compared to Christ’s death. We can’t share the glory and blessings unless we take Him to be our Saviour.
Jesus is the one who introduces us to God. Hebrews 6:19-20. He makes the way open to us to God the Father. At His death the thick veil that guarded the Holy of Holies, that symbolised that men could not have access to God, was torn from top to bottom. Christ had gone to God the Father, He made the way possible to God. He clothes us in righteousness and presents us. Hebrews 10:19-22.The Saviour’s sufferings were not in vain. Through His blood we have atonement. Jesus’ mission was an unqualified success. We have been inducted into the same fellowship with God the Father that Jesus, as the perfect God-Man, enjoys. Let us not be slow to approach Him in prayer. We are to make the most of our access to God, there is no limitation. It is open access every minute of every day because Jesus was completely successful in His sufferings. Those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Saviour will be in heaven for eternity. We are fully forgiven and have eternal fellowship with our God. Nothing can change that.