For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.
The purpose here refers to the previous verse where the believer is suffering unjustly. We call this undeserved suffering, which is a test of our faith. Passing this test involves making the decision to utilize the doctrine in our souls to pass the test and glorify God in the process. Every believer will suffer during his or her lifetime here on earth. If Christ suffered, it should be no surprise to us when we too suffer.
The suffering of Christ refers to undeserved suffering. There are two phases to the undeserved suffering of Christ. Leading up to the Cross and three hours on the Cross, Jesus Christ suffered physically and it was undeserved. He was a perfect person, yet He was condemned by two systems of law – religious and civil (both unjustly). The last three hours on the Cross He suffered spiritual death for our sins.
Example is the Greek word “hupogrammos.” “Grammos” means to write, “hupo” means under and writing under means to trace. So to write under is like the child’s exercise book for learning to write. It included all the letters of the alphabet and was used to teach writing. A child would look at the letter and duplicate it (trace over it). Christ is the prototype of suffering. And the sufferings of Christ become a prototype for the believer. Why? Because it is well established that Christ did not deserve to suffer, and it is also well established that He suffered far beyond anything we could ever endure. And it is also quite clear that out of His suffering came blessing beyond description. So it becomes a perfect illustration of the principle of undeserved suffering.
For you to follow in His steps, uses the Greek word “epakolouqeo” for follow, which means to follow after, to copy or to imitate. We follow in His steps with regard to suffering for blessing — undeserved suffering. Jesus Christ had perfect inner happiness in the midst of the greatest pressures of life, and the Father has designed a plan so that we can have perfect inner happiness in the midst of undeserved suffering and pressures. The pattern of Christ’s suffering is given in verses 22-23.
Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him Who judges righteously.
Because Christ was impeccable, all suffering and all mistreatment which came to Him was totally undeserved. In the middle of undeserved suffering Christ possessed perfect inner happiness and He possessed great blessing based on doctrine in His soul. In fact it was doctrine that sustained the Lord Jesus during those awful three hours when He was bearing our sins. He was forsaken by God; He was forsaken by angels; He was forsaken by mankind; and Bible doctrine sustained Him.
Christ remained free from the three categories of sin: the sin nature, Adam’s original sin and personal sins. As deity Christ was not able to sin and as humanity He was able not to sin. Christ as humanity did have to face the avoidance of personal sin. This meant that the possibility of committing personal sin existed. Christ was tempted to sin in His humanity, not in His deity. God cannot be tempted to sin, but Jesus, as a man, could be tempted to sin. How could Christ accomplish the amazing task of a sinless life? The only way He succeeded in not sinning was by residing in and relying upon the power and the control of God the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ, our Savior has paved the way for us to execute the Victorious Christian Way of Life. (James 1:13; Hebrews 4:15; I John 3:5; Matthew 4:1-4)
“Able not to sin” emphasizes Christ’s free will to make the right decisions to obey God’s mandates. Satan’s temptations of Christ were real and intense. And remember that Christ in His humanity was personally weaker than Satan, yet He was able to resist him by the power of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 2:7) The filling of God the Holy Spirit is much more powerful that Satan, all his demons and this world system. Christ tested and proved the Christian Way of Life under the control of the Holy Spirit. We cannot be sinless as Christ was but we can use the same power system that He used. And God has also given us a recovery system (something that Christ did not need) in order that we might utilize this power system to our maximum advantage. We, therefore, have no excuse for not living in the same spiritual environment in which Christ lived. We can acquire wisdom, make good decisions from a position of strength, develop a personal sense of destiny, increase our capacity for love, happiness and blessing, have complete control over our lives and bring glory and honor to God by a life of virtue and integrity.
Being occupied with the Person of Christ is a part of living in God’s power system. Occupation with Christ means that He has become your best friend. (Proverbs 18:24) It means that you are fully aware of Christ in every area of your life and that you are staying in fellowship with Him a maximum amount of time. It means that you are thinking divine viewpoint based on your knowledge of His Word and that you have no higher goal in life than to bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ in your thoughts, in your attitudes, in your words and in your actions. (II Corinthians 10:5; I Corinthians 2:16b) Our minds are to be saturated with His mind. (Philippians 1:19-21)
And while being reviled, He did not revile in return is an illustration of how He did not sin with His tongue. This sets forth Christ as the prototype of undeserved suffering. He was sustained by doctrine; He was sustained by the ministry of the Spirit in His humanity; and we as believers can also be sustained by doctrine and be filled with the Spirit in the midst of the pressures of life. So notice first of all, non-retaliation when it came to being tempted to sin verbally. The Greek word for reviled is “loidoreo” meaning abusive speech, a lot of criticism and maligning and slander. He did not turn against those with the same thing; He did not return the abuse. He avoided sins of the tongue.
While suffering He uttered no threats is a testimony to Christ’s mental restraint under the filling of the Holy Spirit. He did not have mental attitude sins. This means He did not commit the sins of bitterness, implacability, pride, revenge, etc. Instead, He committed Himself to Him that judges righteously — the Faith-Rest Technique. In other words, what Christ did was to take care of these things by putting them in the Father’s hands for judgment.
And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the Cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
He Himself is referring to the uniqueness of the Person of Christ and to the uniqueness of His suffering; suffering which is described here as different from the suffering that anyone has ever gone through in the human race. Christ bore the sins of the world; no one else would ever be qualified.
The Greek verb for bore is “phero,” which means to bear, to carry, to bear aloft, to sustain a burden, to lift up a burden, or to carry a burden. And Jesus Christ carried the burden of our sins. He not only carried our sins but He carried the burden of them which was judgment. The sins of the world were not only poured out upon Christ but He was judged for them. Our sins refer to the sins of the entire world. Jesus Christ did not die for a select few only, He died for everyone. This is the theological doctrine of unlimited atonement. (II Corinthians 5:14,15,19; 1 Timothy 2:6;4:10; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 2:9; 2 Peter 2:1; I John 2:2)
In his body emphasizes the humanity of Christ. Jesus Christ could not be judged for our sins as God. As God He is sovereignty; sovereignty is not subject to judgment or death. Philippians 2 says he became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. The sovereignty of God cannot “obey” death. He is righteousness, justice, love, eternal life, etc. Eternal life cannot die. As deity Jesus Christ had no beginning; He has no ending. There never was a time when He didn’t exist as God and, therefore, as God He could not die on the Cross. So He had to become true humanity. He could not have died for us if He had possessed a sin nature, so the virgin birth guaranteed that He did not have a sin nature. The virgin birth also separated Him from the “first Adam,” so He did not have the imputation of Adam’s sin. He lived a life free from personal sin although He was tempted as we are. So under the doctrine of impeccability Jesus Christ had a body, a soul and a human spirit without a sin nature. He did not commit any act of personal sin; and, therefore, the sins of the world were poured out upon His humanity because His humanity was qualified to make the payment for the sins of the world. The sins of the world were placed on Jesus Christ and, therefore, the importance of the phrase “in His body.”
The Greek word for die to sin is “apoginomai,” which means to be away from or to be unconnected with. It is a reference to positional truth. Positionally every believer is “dead to sin” in the sense that sin no longer condemns us. The three categories of sin were paid for by Christ and they are not an issue with regard to salvation. The next phrase live to righteousness is an experiential truth. Experientially every believer’s responsibility is to live righteously. This means to live as Royal Family of God and make our experience align with who we really are as spiritual royalty.
We then have a quotation from Isaiah 53:5, “For by His wounds you were healed.” This quotation is a prophecy from the Old Testament that Christ would go to the Cross. It means to restore someone from the consequences of sin and it refers here technically to the doctrine of reconciliation. It does not refer to physical healing. Reconciliation is the removal of the barrier between God and man. You will be reconciled a million years from now, just as you were at the point of salvation. You didn’t earn it or deserve it or work for it. (Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20-21; II Corinthians 5)
For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
This verse is taken from Isaiah 53:6, “All of us like sheep have gone astray.” Prior to the Cross a believer has no spiritual shepherd. The Shepherd refers to the Lord Jesus Christ saving you. Jesus Christ is our Shepherd because He gave His life for “the sheep” (Positional Sanctification). (John 10:9-11) Jesus Christ is called the Great Shepherd, the Good Shepherd and the Chief Shepherd. (Hebrews 13:20-21;
I Peter 5:4) Christ is our Shepherd and we are His sheep. As sheep we have certain needs that must be provided for us by the Shepherd. For example, sheep cannot guide themselves (John. 16:13), sheep cannot clean themselves (I John. 1:9), sheep are helpless when injured (Psalms 9:9; 46:1), sheep are defenseless (John. 14:27), sheep cannot find food or water (John 14:26), sheep are easily frightened (John 14:16), and sheep produce wool that belongs to the shepherd. (John 15:4-5)
Our Shepherd provides guidance, cleansing, help, protection, spiritual food and drink, freedom from fear, and all that we have belongs to Him. As the Good Shepherd He is your Savior, He died for your sins; as the Great Shepherd He provides for you experientially; as the Chief Shepherd He provides for you in eternity. So the word “shepherd” is used in all three stages of God’s plan for believers. Christ is also the Guardian of your souls, which uses the Greek word “episkopos” for Guardian meaning overseer or bishop. (Mark 8:36-37; Hebrews 10:39; Psalm 19:7; 49:8)