Peter’s 1st Letter to Christians in a Pagan Society-11
(“The Atonement as our example’’)

Athi Mgqibelo

(Sermon by Athi Mgqibelo at 3Rivers Baptist church-21/02/2021)

1 Pet 3:18 (ESV) “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the 
that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,”

We are still going forward with the first book of Peter and as most of you 
through it with us, one realizes that these Christians were suffering one way or the other.

But there is a running theme in this book, a recurring principle, which is stated in 1 Pet 3:17.

The principle is that Christians are still expected to do good even when 
other words, it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Kobus took us through to what that good is or may look like in the previous 
spoke to us about being united in mind, being sympathetic, showing brotherly love etc. 

These qualities are easy on the tongue, to speak about them, but are we 
we sympathetic towards others? Can someone really testify of our brotherly 
some people have left certain churches because there was great lacking in 
from the church. Do we put enough thought on these truths? Last week we 
we are expected not to repay evil for evil but rather bless. Who of us can 
that? We do not even feel any guilt when we respond with evil as long as we 
other person who started it.

Do we realize how hard these expectations are? How can we continue doing 
midst of suffering? And to do it again and again when it is not appreciated. 
people have we met who said, ‘I left Christianity a long time ago, I never 
suffered while I did so much good’. Even our brother Asaph in Psalm 73 
dilemma, he had kept his ways pure, but he suffered while the wicked 
the use of all that right living? How can anyone maintain the principle in 1 
continue doing good even while suffering? How do we bless when we are 
you continue doing good at work when it is not appreciated? How can you 
your family when they continue to reject and offend you? What could be 
motivation for this?

Some say blessing should be the motivation, some say appreciation from 
morning I propose that it is looking deeply at the atonement that we can 
basis for the above principle. It is in looking and treasuring the atonement 
an ultimate motivation for doing good. This I believe is what Peter is 
pointing to in our scripture reading. Let us look at this amazing atonement 
as an example for us.

3.1 The atonement
3.2 Conclusion
3.1 The atonement

 Christ suffered. No man has ever suffered more than Christ. He suffered 
ways, you can name them all, he experienced them. Whether it be rejection,
betrayal, sorrow, opposition, physical suffering etc in fact in Mat 26:36-39 
an idea of how sorrowful this man was. He prayed the prayer 3 times. Now 
question is, what was in the cup? It was the wrath of God!! He suffered and 
always fully aware of the suffering. This is important because I went to a 
where we were taught that we do not get sick, it is just a feeling. Christ was 
that, being in denial but fully embraced his suffering.

 Christ suffered once. This is alluding to the old testament sacrificial 
the high priest would go in the holy of holies in the temple annually every 
offer a sacrifice on behalf of the whole nation. This was called the day of atonement.

The priest would tie a rope around himself in case the wrath of God rose 
inside and smote him, so instead of someone taking the same risk and 
rope would be used to pull the priest out. You never knew if the offering 
accepted or not. It was offered every year!! Every year! But Peter tells us 
it was offered once and that was enough, that was perfect! One of the most
encouraging verses in my Christian life is Heb 10:14. This verse has been 
hard times. Here the writer of Hebrews states as explicitly as possible that 
sacrifice of Christ was perfect for all time, it justified once and for all time 
are being sanctified. It took only one offering, one perfect offering and that 
enough! No need to offer every year, it took one single offering!! The full 
been paid, not the deposit. Christ himself would say on the cross ‘it is finished!

 Christ suffered once for sins/unrighteous. He suffered not for himself but 
are not righteous. He brought righteousness to the table, we brought sin. Let 
at Rom 3:9-12, All of us had strayed, and sinned, we did not seek God nor do 
was for our sins that he hung upon that tree. Brothers and sisters, it is us 
us who had sinned, there was none who did good, NOT EVEN ONE! This is 
believe in the substitutionary atonement because he stood in our place, he 
wrath that we had deserved so that we could have the eternal life that 
deserved. We brought sin and wickedness, Christ brought righteousness 

 Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous. Peter has 
enforcing this, that Christ was and is perfect. In 1 Pet 1:19 Peter uses an old
testament symbolism, in Israel the lamb which was to be used as the 
needed to be a lamb without any defect, blemish or spot. Peter says Christ 
such a lamb when he died, he was without blemish or spot. This means that 
never sinned, whether in thought or deed, in speech or in any other way. 
remained righteous even under the most painful moment in his life. When 
cross, with his persecutors still bent on killing and humiliating him, with 
flowing from his hands, he still would utter a prayer for their good, he 
forgiveness while they crucify him!!!! Oh! who of us is like this? We struggle 
good to people who have done bad to us in the past, but Christ does good to 
while they kill him! How many times have we wished for fire to come down 
heaven to burn some people who have wronged us? But Christ prays for their good.

Some of wait for people to first come and bow and ask for forgiveness, then 
may do good to them but not Christ, he pleads for their case while they still 
him!! Do you struggle to do good when you are reviled? This is the example 
Christ never reviled back, he never cursed back, he never threatened. Oh! 
example we have in Christ!!

 Christ suffered once for sins to bring us to God. Was there a purpose to 
suffering? This is of paramount importance because if there was a purpose 
suffering then we can have confidence that even in our suffering God 
purpose, it might be different to his but if it is there then we have hope that 
in control. What was the purpose? It was for our reconciliation. It was to 
back to God. Why? Because we were enemies to God, there was a big 
gap caused by our sins. We were not willing nor able to be holy, God was 
nor able to be unholy. Christ died to bring us back, to reconcile us to God. 
at 2 Cor 5:17-21. It was God through Christ that these Corinthians were 
God. How? By not counting their trespasses against them. Who then were 
counted against? Who took their punishment? because the wages of sin is 
must be punished! Who? It is Christ who took their punishment as per verse 
this passage. We have his righteousness to stand before God! Old saints in 
reformation called it the alien righteousness. It was external to us. We did 
produce it but through faith accepted it.

Does any of us here struggle to bring the principle in 1 Pet 3:17 to 
to bless when reviled? Is it too high a mountain for us to climb, to show 
and sympathy? Then we need to go back to how our salvation was wrought 
how one person suffered for us. It was Christ who maintained doing good 
suffering. Let us go to 1 Pet 2:19-24, We are not heroes or champions, we are 
supermen or great in any way, it is Christ that is our great example! We are 
up to what we have learned thus far in this book. One weakness prevalent 
reformed circles is that idea that one can master great truths theoretically 
applying them or living by them. What a shame to us! We have an example. 
called to continue doing good even in the midst of suffering for that is 

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