Encouragements for our troubled times No. 53

COVID-19 Series | Date: 53 March 2021

The Elders and Deacons want to encourage the members and those who regularly meet with us through this weekly letter. If you have news which you would be happy to share with the fellowship or request for prayer, then please let us know.

A message from our Pastor

1 Peter 3:18

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.”

Previous to this verse Peter has been telling us that when we are reviled and defamed for doing good, we are blessed and should meet it with meekness and fear; having a good conscience. Now, this is not easy because it is our natural tendency to want justice and to be indignant when we are accused. But here Peter urges us to be like our Saviour.

For Christ also suffered once for our sins. We must never forget that to save us Christ had to suffer. He had to leave the courts of Heaven and come into this world of sin and death. He had to endure the reviling of the world. He had to allow Himself to be taken and scourged and beaten. He had to endure the mockery and vileness of the mob. He had to be hung up on the cross in our place. He did this once for sins. All the sins, past, present, and future, for all the Elect; all of them were placed on Him and He became sin for us. So, all the suffering and all He had to pay for our sins was magnified by this colossal number of sins. Now Peter tells us that He, the Just, endured all this for us, the unjust. And He did all this without complaining or seeking His own rights. He did it all with meekness and godly fear. Therefore, if we are called to suffer for righteousness’ sake, we ought to endure it, like Christ, with meekness and godly fear.

Again, Christ suffered once for sins that He might bring us to God. The purpose of His suffering was the payment for our sins. The end of His suffering was our reconciliation to God. During all that suffering on the cross Christ had these two great objectives in mind; the payment of our sins so that we could be brought back to God, be reconciled to Him and be His children forever. His sufferings were not pointless and meaningless. On the contrary,

His sufferings had a great and glorious end. And His sufferings achieved that great and glorious end for us. Likewise, when we suffer for righteousness’ sake, our sufferings have meaning and purpose. Firstly, we were ‘called to this, that we may inherit a blessing’. We were called to be Christ’s and therefore to suffer with Him and for His name. Secondly for witness, that we may have an opportunity to ‘give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.’ And thirdly so that ‘those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.’ And they will be, either in this life and be brought to repentance; or in the next when they have to stand before Christ and answer for their treatment of Him and His loved ones.

Lastly, Peter reminds us that Christ triumphed through His sufferings; ‘being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.’ The sufferings on the cross may have led to His death and His enemies may have triumphed thinking that they had killed Him. But it was Christ who triumphed because He was made alive by the Spirit. He triumphed over our sins, having paid the price to God's full satisfaction. He gave His life a ransom for our sins and was raised to life because He had finished the work that His Father had sent Him to do. He triumphed over His enemies because they could not stop Him from completing His work nor keep Him in the grave. And He triumphed over death and the grave as He rose triumphant from the grave to life. In all these things we triumph with Him too. Our sufferings for Christ and righteousness’ sake are but for a moment. In the end, when we cast off this mortal coil, we shall be raised alive by the same Spirit, to everlasting life with Him.