Atonement. Perfection of Jesus. Depravity of man. Reconciliation. Substitutionary Atonement. Resurrection. Today’s passage is packed with theology. Let’s read it and then break it down.
1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit….
The Atonement: Christ also suffered once for sins…. Jesus made amends for our sins and blotted out our offenses. His work fully satisfied the penalty God placed on sin. The work of Jesus on the cross never has to be repeated.
The Perfection of Christ: …the righteous…. Jesus was the perfect, sinless sacrifice.
The Depravity of Man: …for the unrighteous…. Our moral and spiritual nature is totally corrupted, not in degree (no one is as bad as he or she could be) but in extent. No part of us is untouched by our sinful nature.
Reconciliation: …that he might bring us to God…. Our sin separated us from God. We needed someone to bring us back into fellowship with him.
The Substitutionary Atonement: …being put to death in the flesh…. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus died as our substitute.
Resurrection: …but made alive in the spirit…. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, our “faith is futile,” we “are still in [our] sins,” and “we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19). But because of the resurrection, we will pass from death to life (John 5:24).
These terms are not just descriptions of theology. They are the foundation of our faith, describing the work of God in our lives now and throughout eternity.
Father, thank you for the work that Jesus did on our behalf. Words cannot express our gratitude. Help us thank you with our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.