1 Peter 2:22-25
The Example of Christ
We return to the one who suffered for us leaving us an example that we should following his steps. Though he committed no sin and did nothing deserving of shame or punishment, yet he patiently bore up under such ill-treatment. He never returned ill word for ill word, blow for blow, malice for malice. Instead, we are told, he entrusted himself and his cause to “Him who judges justly.” As a result, he was able to bear our sins on the cross for our healing—which is what salvation is.
But there is another result—that we may cease our straying and return to our Shepherd, die to sin and live to righteousness. And this is the meaning of following in his steps: putting down my guard, refusing to retaliate, blessing those who curse me and loving those who hate, use, and abuse me. In this way, we not only follow Christ but prove to the world that Christians are truly a peculiar people.
Believing and doing can never be separated in the Christian faith. It begins with that saving experience, for there must be that initial rebirth through the Holy Spirit that sets one right with God—justified in His sight, forgiven of sin, washed, cleansed, and made a new man. But this regenerating experience must be proven by growing in grace and knowledge, and then applying that grace and knowledge in the battles of daily life—the temptations, the trials, the ill-treatment. This is what we are destined to endure (2:21; 2 Timothy 3:12). But it is through such trials that God molds and shapes us, chipping away that in us which is malformed and steadily recreating us after the image of His Son. It is necessary work for the one who would inhabit the heavenly realm.
What might throw us is that much of this work sounds passive—merely enduring. Yet, endurance is often the hardest part of any trial—and it is not passive. Bearing insults or loss of job or income is hard, grueling work. Watching one’s own children bear the brunt of decisions parents must make which might isolate them from peers is heartbreaking. In short, the Christian life, when lived rightly, is a hard life. But it is a good life. Christians in America are relearning and retraining themselves for living as aliens and sojourners in a pagan land. We’ve not had to do this before, but it is the new reality. It will require life-changing alterations and difficult decisions regarding vocations and child-rearing. But it will be a good life—a better life, for we will be following in his steps, just as we always should have done.