Free to Live Right (1 Peter 2:24)
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. —1 Peter 2:24
Jesus the perfect one, the sinless one, “bore” our sins in his body. The word “bore” means he took something that did not belong to him, something he was not obligated to bear, and put it on himself willingly. Jesus was not forced by his Father to bear our sins. He freely submitted to the Father’s will when he said in the garden, “not my will, but yours be done.” Jesus never sinned, but he was treated like one who had done all the sinning of all the people who ever lived or will live.
And he bore those sins “on the tree,” or literally, “to the wood.” The next time you throw a rough piece of wood into the fireplace think about this: Jesus took our sin “to the wood.” He took it to the rugged wooden cross. He didn’t hold our sin away from himself and nail it to the cross. Jesus took the mountainous trash heap of all our sin into his body. His body was nailed to the wood. He was propped up as a firewall to absorb the flames of God’s wrath. It was set to blaze on him instead of us. We deserved it. He took it. It is finished.
Why does this verse say Jesus did that? What was the purpose? One purpose was so that “we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” We used to live under sin’s curse and control. But we left that old life cold on the floor. We are raised up with Christ to live a righteous life. A righteous life this side of heaven is not a perfect life. It is one that seeks to observe all that Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:20). It is not just an effort to do better. It is a new way of living in union with Christ.
When we trust in Jesus’ sacrifice to save us from our sins and from God’s wrath, his bloody body on the tree pleads our case before God the Father. We are forgiven and counted as right before God, though in our sins we are so wrong. The righteous life of Christ enters into our lives. His grace comes to us by the Holy Spirit and empowers us to be more like him. As we strive by this grace to live as he has called us, we long for the day when we will see him face to face and our likeness to him will be complete.
This trajectory of transformation is possible because Jesus’ wounding on the wood has healed us of sin’s curse and control. See the fire of holy wrath that Jesus absorbed for us on that rugged wood. Let the heat remind you of all he has done. Feel his pure love proved by fire. Surrender to such love. Take up your cross and follow. You are free to live right, by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us (Galatians 2:20).
Spend some time pondering the wonders of Jesus’ wounding on our behalf.
What area of your life has been stirred up to “live to righteousness” just now?
Pray and ask God for grace to take one step to follow Jesus in that area.
Has the Lord brought some sin to mind? “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Let’s experience the freedom of forgiveness as we confess our sins and turn to him now.