Suffering for Sin

I recently posted an article about God’s judgment (see it here). In that article I discussed in general a form of God’s judgment on a world that rejects Him. He sometimes withdraws in judgment, allowing us to destroy ourselves. A troubling thing about this is when those faithful to God suffer alongside those responsible for bringing about His judgment. Examples of this are seen at Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 13) where “just Lot” (2 Pet 2:6-7) is “delivered” from death but suffers great loss in the process and the aftermath. There are other examples: Daniel is carried away into Babylon (Daniel 1), Isaiah suffers along with the people of Israel, even identifying himself with them in their sinfulness (Isa 6). And there are many other examples as well when some righteous individual suffers simply because he is nearby the guilty.

It’s one thing to suffer because of sin. That’s what happens with us often just because we live in a sinful world. But the Lord Jesus suffered for sin. And not just for sin in general, but for our sin. “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit…” (1 Pet 3:17-18).

giftWe complain about what we perceive to be fair. And we go on about the injustices we endure. Let me say that the last thing we want is for God to be fair. It isn’t fair that His Son who was without sin paid the price on the cross, being tortured by men and forsaken by God. He paid the price for our sin that He didn’t owe and that we could never afford. And it isn’t fair that we, who do nothing but trust Him, receive the free gift of eternal life: “for the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:23). This isn’t at all fair.

But it is just. You see, The Lord Jesus wasn’t forced to pay this price for us. He wanted to pay it because He wanted us. As Boaz desired to pay the price to have Ruth (Ruth 4:4-6), the Lord Jesus wanted to have us. The only way He could was to satisfy God’s justice and pay off our debt by suffering for our sin. “He [God] shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (Isa 53:11). And again, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

It is true that we may at times suffer because of sin, but let us be thankful that the Lord Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, was willing to suffer for our sin.

-J Wilbur


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