But Peter traces an even deeper reason in his Pentecost sermon, when he declares, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”  He places the guilt of the act upon the wicked men who crucified and slew the Lord Jesus, but he also shows that it was no accident of history, and that it was not merely a case of men accomplishing their own malevolent desires.  Unwittingly, they were fulfilling God’s whole design for the salvation of sinners, by nailing Christ to the cross, which act publicly proclaimed Him to be accursed of God; as indeed He truly was, because He suffered for our sins.  Christ’s death was designed to the very last detail by God in the council chambers of eternity, and He orchestrated every act from the greatest to the smallest, so that nothing failed.  Only by such sovereign ordination and superintendence could the glorious scheme of redemption be perfectly accomplished!  By the wise and righteous supervision of God, the wickedness of man was used to accomplish God’s greatest feat, the deliverance of a host of guilty sinners from the hell that they deserved.

empty-tomb

But the story did not end when Jesus bowed His head upon the cross, and gave up the ghost.  He remained three days in the tomb, and then was raised again.  For what purpose was Christ raised?  In truth, there are a multitude of reasons; Paul touched upon one in the 4th verse of the 1st chapter when he stated that Christ was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead…”  That was one purpose.  But here he evinces another (and there are many more besides, some of which he will touch upon later in this epistle): He was “raised again for our justification.”  The word for here is of the utmost importance, for it carries the same sense as in the preceding clause, because of.  Just as Christ was delivered “because of,” or “on account of” our offences against God’s law, so was He also raised again “because of,” or “on account of”, our justification.  In other words, God raised Him from the dead because our justification had been perfectly and entirely accomplished by our Lord’s mediatorial work.  He had wrought out the perfect righteousness we needed by His blameless life, and had expiated every bit of our guilt by His sin-atoning death.  God the Father was absolutely satisfied with His work, and could now justly justify those who trusted in His Son.  Therefore, to announce to the entire world that the work of salvation is completed to the perfect satisfaction of the strictest rigors of divine justice, He raised up Jesus from the dead, and announced Him to be a Prince and a Saviour, upon Whom all must believe if they would be delivered from the wrath to come.

 

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