“And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (I Peter 2:24).
When Christ “bore our sins in His body on the cross”, He set us free from the penalty of our sin. As we have seen in our previous posts, Christ’s death on the cross in our place justified us, placed us in right standing with God. But in a less understood miracle, His death on the cross in our place did something more, something much much more!
Christ’s death set us free from the power of sin as well. It is all right here in our verse from I Peter. His death set us free to “die to sin”, be released from its power, and to “live to righteousness”, walk according to the power of the Spirit that lives in us. Dying to sin – something Christ accomplished for us in His body on the cross – means being set free from sin’s power as our master. Paul explains it more fully in Romans chapter 6.
“Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus … For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:6-11, 14).
The power of the cross and the power of the resurrection now fuel our living the Christian life. They are not only the path to receiving our salvation. They are the path to experiencing our salvation, living according to our new identity in Christ.
This power that infuses us to live the life is pure gift. “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6).
Acknowledging this gift leads to Paul’s singular boast regarding what the power of the cross did for us. “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14). I have been crucified to the world. I am no longer under its spell, no longer a prisoner to its influence. I have a new power – the power of Christ and His Spirit living in me.
“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18). This Easter season, may you glory in the resurrected Christ and in the POWER OF HIS CROSS!