In teaching that we must endure suffering even from harsh masters, Peter provides us with an example for all our suffering — the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only one for whom all suffering was unjust (John 18:38b). He alone did good at all times and thus is the perfect example for those of us who suffer for doing what is right.
Not only was Jesus the only one for whom all suffering was unjust, He also was the only one who never sinned when responding to suffering (1 Peter 2:22). Only He, at all times and in all places, perfectly entrusted Himself to the one Judge over all creation (v. 23). This perfect standard remains in place for us who follow His example. Moreover, since verse 22 makes it clear that Jesus never sinned at all, we who follow Him are required to do the same.
However, all of us know that because of our sin we could by no means ever meet this requirement for perfection. But thanks be to God, as today’s passage tells us, not only is Jesus our example, He is our Savior. Verses 24–25 tell us that Christ bore our sins on the cross, thereby healing us by His wounds. He has provided real atonement for His people, bearing God’s wrath in our place. As a result we have been reconciled to the great Shepherd of our souls.
If we are in Christ, if we trust Him alone for salvation, we receive the benefits of His perfect work. His perfect trust in the Father is reckoned to us. We are accepted into the flock of God on account of Jesus’ work. We are freely justified if we receive Him by faith alone.
This justification is followed by sanctification. Our death with Christ enables us to live in righteousness and faithfulness as God’s people (Col. 3:1–11). Over our lives we are progressively enabled to fulfill the command to endure suffering patiently. John Calvin writes, “for he [Jesus] has not only brought this great benefit to us, that God justifies us freely, by not imputing to us our sins; but he also makes us to die to the world and to the flesh, that we may rise again to a new life: not that one day makes complete this death; but wherever it is, the death of Christ is efficacious for the expiation of sins, and also for the mortification of the flesh.”
All human beings at all times and in all places are required to obey the Lord fully and completely. However, we cannot do this. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). But thanks be to God, we have a perfect Savior whose perfect obedience is reckoned to us when we trust in Him. Spend some time today thanking Jesus for His salvation and endeavor to use this gratitude as a motivation for your sanctification.