To Be Like Jesus (I Peter 2:21-24)
I Peter 2:21-24,"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."
The proof of Christianity is not a book but a life. The power of Christianity is not a creed but a Christian character; and wherever you see life that has been transformed by the grace of God, you see a witness to the resurrection of Jesus. God’s purpose and plan for our life is for us to be a reflection of His Son.
Peter was an eyewitness to Jesus' life and sufferings upon the cross. He says three things about the death of Christ. Christ "suffered for us" (I Peter 2:21). That is, His death took the place of sinners. Christ "did no sin" (I Peter 2:22). That is, He was sinless; He lived a perfect and righteous life. Therefore, the sins He bore in death were not His sins but the sins of men. Christ "bore our sins in His own body" (I Peter 2:24). That is, the suffering Jesus bore was the penalty due sin. In the Old Testament, the words "bore our sins" means to be answerable for sin; to endure its penalty; to die for sinners (Exodus 28:43; Leviticus 24:15-16; Isaiah 53:12). The death Jesus bore was substitution. He bore the sins due others. It is this act that shows the supreme love of God for man.
As Christians, we are not under the law (Galatians 3:24-26). We do not need rules, regulations, threats of punishment or promises of reward to inspire and rule our hearts. In order to live in this world for the glory of God, we must simply follow the example of the One who hung upon the cursed tree, bearing our sins. When I see Christ hanging upon the cross as my Substitute, I see that self-sacrifice is essential to honoring God (Luke 14:33).
There is a battle for me to fight, a trial for me to endure, a service for me to perform and a cross for me to bear. I cannot serve God without self-sacrifice and self-denial. When Christ was on the cross, bearing our sins, He set before us an example of willing obedience to our heavenly Father. Our Saviour willingly obeyed His Father’s will, even unto death (Isaiah 50:5-7). This is the way we must serve God. God will never accept any gift, any worship, or any service unless it comes from a willing heart (II Corinthians 8:12).
The cross also shows us our Lord’s dedication and perseverance. He not only agreed to bear our sins and promised to die for us; He actually did it. Even before the world was created God’s plan was for us to be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). God did not save us solely to allow us to go to Heaven, though, of course, that is a wonderful and undeserved blessing. God also saved us so that we could go into the world just as Jesus did and point men and women to Him. God intends for us to be walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ as we go through this world.
We have been called to take the name of Jesus and identify with Him, even if that involves suffering for our faith. Jesus has given us the example to follow, and we are instructed to walk in His way. If we are to imitate the life of Jesus, then we must be led by Him. It is difficult to imitate your life after someone that you are never around or know nothing about. If we are to live for Jesus in a way that pleases Him, we must allow Him to guide our lives. We must allow Him to be the Shepherd of our souls and heed His voice. Jesus has made provision for us. He suffered all that He did so that we might live through Him. Our only hope is to keep our eyes upon Jesus and follow Him.
God requires dedication and perseverance from all who follow Christ. Our Lord’s death upon the cross also sets before us an example of real love and patient submission to the will of God. Jesus set a high standard for living. Not one person has ever achieved His level of perfection, nor can we, but we must strive for that perfection daily. If the Lord has spoken to you about specific areas in your life, why not come and get those things settled before Him. The Lord is waiting to help you if you will only come to Him.
Questions to Consider:
Does your life reflect the life of Christ?
Is He evident in your life for the world to see?
Does your character, communication, conduct, and commitment following the example that Jesus left?
Wouldn't it be a shame to stand before the Lord and never have matured spiritually?
Prayer: Father, I know Your desire is for me to be like You. You transform me every day. You want me to love what You love and hate what You hate. Many times, I have failed You. Thank You for Your constant love and forgiveness of me. May I never use the power of Your forgiveness to justify sinning, but may it draw me closer to You, so that when temptation comes, I may boldly proclaim, “I want to be like Jesus!” In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.