1 Peter 2:24 ESV
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
If I were asked, and I have been asked this before, to give the gospel in one Bible verse, this is the verse I would give. This covers it, except for his resurrection. But this verse explains the purpose of his death on the cross and what takes place, too, when we believe in him as our Lord and Savior.
When Jesus Christ was crucified on that cross, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. And Jesus died for all on that cross, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised (2 Co 5:15, 21).
Okay, first of all, there is nothing any of us can do in our flesh to deserve or to earn our own salvation. Our good deeds will never outweigh our bad deeds. Our own righteousness is like filthy rags in our Lord’s sight. All have sinned and have fallen short of attaining God’s divine approval (Rom 3:23).
Only because of Jesus’ death for us on that cross, whereby he put our sin to death, can anyone of us be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ, and that is what faith means, to be divinely persuaded.
So, God the Father draws us to Jesus, and he gifts us with his grace and with faith and with repentance so that we are crucified with him in death to sin, of the Spirit of God. Then we are rebirthed of the Spirit of God to new lives in Christ Jesus, now free from our slavery to sin so that we now become slaves of God and of his righteousness, empowered of God.
[Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-9; Ac 11:18; Rom 2:4; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24]
As Jesus put our sin to death with him when he died on that cross, and then he was resurrected from the dead back to life, only no longer in a flesh body, but in a glorified body, when we believe in Jesus with God-given faith, we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to new lives in Christ, but not of the flesh, but of the Spirit.
Now our lives are no longer our own to be lived for the flesh, for we have been given new lives in Christ, of the Spirit, to be lived to God and to his righteousness, for Jesus bought us back for God with his blood.
We Are Healed
So, the healing that takes place when we believe in Jesus, and we die with him to sin that we might live to him and to his righteousness, is that our sins are put to death with Christ, and we are reborn of the Spirit to new lives in Christ, created now to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:17-24; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Co 6:19-20).
But it doesn’t end there. We don’t just “get saved” and then we are good to go until we go to heaven one day. We must die to sin every day. Every day we take up our cross and we follow (obey) Jesus. We must, by the Spirit, be those who are putting to death the deeds of the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
And we must be those who are walking (conducting our lives) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God and not according to the flesh. We must be walking in the light as God is in the light, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from every sin (Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26).
If we aren’t doing this, but instead we are conducting our lives according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit, because we are still making sin our practice (habit, addiction), then our lives will end in death, not in life everlasting with God (Rom 6:16; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6).
1 Peter 2:25 ESV
“For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
Before we believed in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we were like straying sheep, doing our own thing, going our own way, living for ourselves and for the pleasures of this life.
We may have been religious people, or people who were “good deed doers,” and we may not have been those who were involved in all sorts of gross immorality or thievery, etc. But we were still sinners in need of a Savior.
But, in Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins he bought us back for God (he redeemed us) so that we would now honor God with our lives. Jesus didn’t die that horrible death so we would go on living in sin, only now without guilt. He didn’t die just to save us from hell so we could go to heaven, either. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
He gave his life up for us so that we would no longer live our lives like straying sheep. We “were” like that. We aren’t supposed to still be like that. How can we who died to sin live in it any longer? Don’t you know that if you are obeying sin you are its slave and that it will end in death, not life eternal? (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24)
The whole purpose of Jesus’ death for us on that cross was to transform us and to conform us to his likeness. It was so we would no longer be like we were before but so we would now be like Him. Being born again means we aren’t living the old life, but we are now living the new life in Christ.
In Jesus’ death he reconciled us to God so that we no longer live as enemies of the cross but we now live according to the cross of Jesus in death to sin and living to his righteousness – all because of what Jesus did for us on that cross, and only as empowered by God’s Spirit living within us.
We were going left. Now we are going right, meaning in the opposite direction. We were on the broad road (the easy road) which leads to destruction, which the many travel. Now we are on the narrow road (the hard road) which leads to eternal life, and which few find.
We were straying like sheep, but now we have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. Now we have been reconciled to God, so we are no longer his enemies, but now we are his friends. Now we are living for him and not for ourselves. Now we glorify him with our lives, and we no longer glory in the flesh.
But if this is not where you are today, or if you have bought into the lie that says you can “believe” in Jesus and have heaven guaranteed you when you die, but you don’t have to submit to Christ as Lord or obey our Lord’s commands or turn away from your sins, then please repent today and turn to God and let the Spirit of God change you to be like Jesus.
The Spirit Calling
An Original Work / November 12, 2019
Hear the Spirit calling.
He’ll keep you from falling.
Tenderly He’s calling,
“Come and follow Him.”
Walk with Jesus daily.
Don’t give in to lazy.
Folks may call you crazy.
Fellowship with Him.
Follow where He leads you.
Eat what Jesus feeds you.
His love will renew you
If you follow Him.
Do what Jesus tells you.
Don’t let your faith fail you.
His love will avail you
If you walk with Him.
Jesus, Lord and Savior,
Reigneth now forever.
He gave us His favor
So we’d live with Him.
Turning now from our sin,
Holy Spirit live-in.
Holiness we walk in,
Purified by Him.