“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”
1 Pet. 3:18
Statements like this should be regarded as expressing the very heart of the gospel; thus, the very core of our faith and reason for our hope; certainly, the motive of all our conduct.
FACT: Christ died. This is what we call “historical truth.” That simply means – This is something that really happened. There is overwhelming evidence in the Scriptures and there is evidence in secular history. The son of Joseph and Mary, called “Jesus,” was crucified; it was a public event accompanied by the celebration of unlawful, violent men. Jesus died.
WHY DID HE DIE: “For sins.” Not His Own – He had none; remember 1 Pet. 2:22 – He “committed no sin.” Jesus died, “for our sins,” that is – because we sinned and to provide the remedy.
HOW MANY TIMES DID THIS HAPPEN? “once for all,” (see Heb. 9:28; note the contrast in Heb. 9 – between the repeated animal sacrifices, and the singular sacrifice of Christ.) These are historical facts, and the historical facts that lie at the very center of the gospel message. Jesus died; He died “for our sins,” and: “once for all.”
WHO DID HE DIE FOR? “The just for the unjust.” Sinners are classified as “unjust.” Jesus – who never sinned – “the just.” “The just” died for “the unjust.”
THE PURPOSE: “That he might bring us to God.” Sin takes us away from God. Sin separates us from God, and puts us in fellowship with the devil. Jesus died to bring us back to the Father; away from the devil and back to God. The only way you can get away from the devil and into fellowship with God is, the response (activity) of your faith in Christ; “baptism now saves you,” (see verse 21).
WHAT WAS THE PERSONAL OUTCOME FOR CHRIST? “…put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit,” (see Rom. 1:1-4). Jesus died for us – but God raised Him from the dead. In many of the opening chapters of New Testament books this fact is affirmed: Acts 1, Romans 1, Ephesians 1; 1 Pet. 1:3. Jesus died for our sins; the just for the unjust – but his own personal outcome was – “made alive in the spirit.”
This is the reason for our hope; this is our defense; this is the motive behind our good behavior in Christ! What is your response?