CHRIST, OUR EXAMPLE

1Pe 2:20-25  “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”

Sometimes we come under rebuke for some error we have committed, whether intentional or otherwise. Hopefully, our integrity is such that we bear that rebuke with perseverance (take it patiently). There is nothing worthy of recognition when our errors or sins overtake us, and we endure the outcome of that without a lot of whining. When we experience adversity for well-doing and don’t whine about it, then we have pleased God. There is glory (renown) in that; not ours, but God’s! When Peter says this is “acceptable” the root of that word again refers back to the work of grace in our hearts reflecting in the way we live. The word “with” as it is used here should not be read as though Peter were saying that this outcome was pleasing to God. The root of the word “with” here signifies near or from beside. To suffer for well-doing shows that we are living near to God and His grace is reflected in our lives to His glory. But why would this be acceptable unto Him?

Christ suffered for us. He told us that if we would reign with Him, we must also suffer with Him (2 Tim 2:12). Jesus is our example that well-doing is never appreciated by everyone, even sometimes the people that it benefits the most. God has called us to persevere when we suffer for doing well, assuring us that He is near and that we are showing the life of Jesus in these mortal bodies (2 Cor 4:10). Jesus never committed any sin. He was never deceitful. When He was criticized, He did not answer in kind. When He suffered, He did not threaten retribution. Instead, He surrendered (committed) to the Righteous Judge. Let me repeat that Jesus is our example. We are to walk in His ways and pattern our lives after His. In our own strength, this would be impossible. When God is near us, and we are walking after our Lord, everything is possible (Php 4:13).

How can everything be possible to those who are riddled with the disease of sin? Because we are healed by His stripes! Jesus suffered many blows for doing well; for doing the Father’s will. The Father was always near Him. Jesus took our sins (disease) in His own body and carried them to the cross. There, He atoned for us before the Righteous Judge. He changed our reality on that cross: instead of being dead in sin, He made us dead to sin! In making us dead to sin, He made it possible for us to live righteously, as He had given us Himself for an example.

There was a time that we wandered off in unsafe paths, like sheep straying from their shepherd. We abandoned truth and virtue for the lust of our flesh. BUT NOW: today, we have been converted. Today we are returned to our Good Shepherd who is faithful to the care of His flock. Today we are in the presence of the Superintendent of our souls. Seeing the great worth He has placed in us, surely we can live in a way that gives glory to Him through the nearness of God.

May we know in our hearts that today is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2)!

 

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