Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter Part 10 -- By: John H. Bennetch
BSac 99:396 (Oct 42) p. 440
Exegetical Studies in 1 Peter
(Continued from the July-September Number, 1942)
The Vicarious Sacrifice of Christ
How is it possible to follow the example set by Jesus Christ? 1 Peter 2:21–23 has just held up His life as a model for Christian slaves to emulate, if they suffered abuse from cruel masters. So it remains for the apostle to inform his readers how they can rise to the supreme heights which Messiah attained, when He offered no reply or retaliation in the face of barbarous treatment.
Christ-like character is achieved only when the power of sin has been broken. In consequence, Peter speaks at once about the deliverance from condemnation which Christians enjoy because of Calvary. His words, “who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,” indicate how salvation was ever won. It meant a vicarious death for Christ, the Lord’s Anointed.
The sentence structure here demonstrates a close connection of thought with the preceding. Both verse 22 and 23 were relative clauses, explaining the nature of the standards maintained by the Messiah. They began, accordingly, with ὅς. Likewise the two chief clauses in verse 24 commence with the relative, hos; in the second instance, however, the genitive case of hos appears.
This is not the first time that Peter has mentioned the saving work of Christ in 1 Peter. Hitherto, at 1:18ff, the reminder had been given, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold from your vain conversation received by tradition from
BSac 99:396 (Oct 42) p. 441
your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ....” Chapter 1, evidently, teaches that aspect of salvation truth known as redemption. With chapter 2 another aspect will become manifest, that of propitiation; “who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” 3:18ff, the final reference afforded by 1 Peter, may elucidate the third familiar aspect in the doctrine-reconciliation; “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God....” Thus the Cross was “a propitiation toward God; a reconciliation toward man; an...
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