Jesus Suffered to Keep You from Sinning

1 Peter 2:21–25, Part 1

Jesus promised us that his followers would suffer unjustly for bearing his name. In this lab, John Piper explains how we return good for evil, even when it seems like evil is winning. He shows that Jesus died for you in more ways than one, and demonstrates how each way speaks into the opposition we face from the world.

Principle for Bible Reading

People with different theological convictions will latch on to key texts in the Bible that support their school of thought and worldview. It is wrong and dangerous, though, to allow certain truths in Scripture to silence others. Good theology is about finding the (often difficult and mysterious) harmony in all of Scripture. 1 Peter 2:21–25, for example, bring together two important truths about Jesus that have often been set against each other in church history and practice.

Study Questions

  1. In 1 Peter 2:21–25, Peter gives us two main reasons from the life of Jesus to be willing to suffer unjustly for righteousness’s sake. What are they?
  2. If you believed one motivation, but not the other, what would go wrong in your theology and life? Answer for both motivations.
  3. Looking specifically at 1 Peter 2:22–23, how does Jesus’s example as a sufferer help us to suffer injustice ourselves?


All Christians Are Called to Suffer

  • We are called to suffer unjustly for two reasons. (1 Peter 2:21)
  • First, because Christ suffered for you (substitution), that is, for your sins. (1 Peter 2:21)
  • Secondly, because Christ left an example for you (illustration) in his suffering. (1 Peter 2:21)
  • If you abandon the second, you’ll be a nice conservative evangelical who neglects the exemplary example of Christ who teaches us to suffer righteousness’ sake.
  • If you abandon the first, you become a nice, liberal Christian, neglecting the most important thing, Christ’s death for sinners who could never do enough good to atone for their sin. (1 Peter 2:21)

Christ Left Us an Example

  • The illustration is unpacked in 1 Peter 2:22–23, and the substitution is unpacked in 1 Peter 2:24–25.
  • Christ committed no sin on his way to the cross (1 Peter 2:22). We should never sin to get ourselves into suffering.
  • When Christ was treated badly or unfairly, he did not respond with the same (1 Peter 2:23). Likewise, do not return evil for evil.

The Power to Suffer Well

  • How do we find the power to respond like Christ when it feels like injustice is being done?
  • Christ could have come off of the cross and killed them all, and it would have been perfect justice. But he didn’t in order to bear our sin and set us an example.
  • In the midst of a sea of injustice, Christ entrusted himself and his cause to his Creator (1 Peter 2:23). He knew justice would be done.
  • Paul tells us not to avenge ourselves, but to surrender justice and vengeance to God, and to love and serve our enemies. (Romans 12:19–20)