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: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
We sin. We have sinned. We are sinners. We were born in sin. By nature and by action, we are sinners. This presents us with a massive problem: our sin separates us from a Pure and Holy God. He hates sin. The very word that describes who we are is the very word that describes everything that He hates. Because of sin, we cannot come to God. It is impossible. No amount of work can be accomplished with our sinful hands, no series of words can be uttered from the impure fountain of our mouths, no amount of feeling can be poured out from the sepulcher of our hearts, that can ever reconcile this shortcoming. We are fully incapable of fixing this in problem, and because of that, we must be separate from God and from the blessings and joy that are found in Him. But “Christ suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” He was perfect and sinless. He was pure and holy, and he took our place. He took our punishment, so that we could take His place of fellowship. He became sin so that we could become His righteousness. Now, we don’t have to be a slave to sin anymore, but we can now find victory through Christ. Now, we don’t have to succumb to the filthy ways of a corrupt heart, but out of a new heart and a love for our God, we can live in a way that brings purpose and meaning. Whereas before we lived at enmity with a Holy God, now we live at peace with Him as His children. We always lived in a way that He disapproved, but now, in faith, we please Him daily. What a change! The gospel of Jesus has drastically changed our situation. He fixed what we never could. Through His selfless love, we now have hope.
Food For Thought: According to this text, why did Jesus suffer for our sins? What does that mean?