If we really want something better, we must always start with God. Peter reminds us of what God did for us in Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:21-25 is an incredible message of hope…but we have to respond.
Peter wrote about human sin, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. [Of what? Of your sin.] For you were like sheep going astray” (1 Peter 2:24-25).
A million years ago, when I was in high school and college, I had a dance band. And even though I didn’t believe much back then, my band always closed our dances with the song, “He.” The song’s closing words are, “He always says, ‘I forgive.’” To this day, I don’t know why we sang it. Perhaps because it had a nice melody, people enjoyed dancing to it, and it made us feel more spiritual. But whatever the motivation, it made no difference in any of our lives.
What’s your concept of God? If he makes no real difference in your life, maybe it’s because you have the wrong picture of God. If you believe God is sweet and nice, that God won’t punish, that God is some kind of celestial bellhop, forget it. That’s not the God of the Bible. If you have never stood before God and been afraid, then you have never stood before the real God. You have stood before an idol of your own making.
It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Sin separates you from a holy and righteous God... And you can’t bridge that gap apart from Christ.
God the Creator places a demand of perfection on his creatures: “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1). Jesus affirmed this when he said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). When God demands perfection, righteousness, obedience, and justice, he wants exactly that. He isn’t kidding. There are no excuses and no exceptions. And he always gets his way.
As the Sovereign over all, God is the highest court in the universe and someday everyone will stand before him to give an account of the way they lived. “Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free” (Proverbs 11:21). “For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son—both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). If you think you’ll walk into the throne room of God carrying your offense against him, you’re wrong. If you think God will accept you the way you are, you’re wrong.
Sin separates you from yourself. Are you having trouble sleeping at night, tossing and turning, and you can’t deal with it? You’ve got a sin problem.
Sin separates you from other people. Are you always smiling, trying to be loving, sweet, kind, and pure? Then at the end of the day, when you look in the mirror and take off your mask, do you know your image doesn’t reflect reality? You’ve got a sin problem.
Sin separates you from a holy and righteous God, the one and only source of meaning, joy and freedom in this world. And you can’t bridge that gap apart from Christ.
The remedy for our sin is Jesus Christ crucified. We can’t fix it on our own. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you…He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree…by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:21,24). Through Peter, God is saying, “I have taken your sin problem and placed it on my Son. You’re now free, pure, and righteous, not because you are yet, but because he is. Every time I look at you, I look through him.”
Suppose you killed a man. You knew you did it—you were mad enough—and you knew all the evidence was against you. Called before the judge, he condemns you to death. Imagine further you had a friend who came into the courtroom and said to the judge, “I love my friend. I want to die in his place. I want to take his penalty upon myself.” That’s what God did. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9).
Because of the death and resurrection of Christ, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). It is finished.
Run to Jesus
Peter wrote, “So that we might die to sins…For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:24-25).
Jesus said, “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37). God is a gentleman. He won’t strong-arm his way into your life. He won’t push and shove. Instead God gives you the freedom to make your own choice about him. You can continue with the playthings of an empty life and die, or you can follow him and live.
God comes into the darkness of our lives offering light. God comes into our loneliness offering eternal friendship. God comes into our sin offering forgiveness. God comes into our death offering life. All we have to do is take it.
So if you’re out in the desert dying of thirst, drink of the Living Water.
Accept the Father’s gift.
Run to Jesus. He is waiting for you with open arms.
Read more from Steve Brown here.