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1 Peter 2:24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
24 and he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed.
And he himself. See Heb. 1:3, on the phrase ‘when he had by himself purged our sins.’ The meaning is that he did it in his own proper person; he did not make expiation by offering a bloody victim but was himself the sacrifice.
Bare our sins. There is an allusion here undoubtedly to Is. 53:4, 12. See the meaning of the phrase ‘to bear sins’ fully considered in the Notes on those places. As this cannot mean that Christ so took upon himself the sins of men as to become himself a sinner, it must mean that he put himself in the place of sinners, and bore that which those sins deserved; that is, that he endured in his own person that which, if it had been inflicted on the sinner himself, would have been a proper expression of the Divine displeasure against sin, or would have been a proper punishment for sin. See Notes, 2 Cor. 5:21. He was treated as if he had been a sinner, in order that we might be treated as if we had not sinned; that is, as if we were righteous. There is no other way in which we can conceive that one bears the sins of another. They cannot be literally transferred to another, and all that can be meant is, that he should take the consequences on himself, and suffer as if he had committed the transgressions himself.
In his body. This alludes undoubtedly to his sufferings. The sufferings which he endured on the cross were such as if he had been guilty; that is, he was treated as he would have been if he had been a sinner. He was treated as a malefactor; crucified as those most guilty were; endured the same kind of bodily pain that the guilty do who are punished for their own sins, and passed through mental sorrows strongly resembling—as much so as the case admitted of—what the guilty themselves experience when they are left to distressing anguish of mind and are abandoned by God. The sufferings of the Savior were in all respects made as nearly like the sufferings of the most guilty as the sufferings of a perfectly innocent being could be.
On the tree. Marg., ‘to the tree.’ Gr., ἐπὶ τὸ ξύλον. The meaning is rather, as in the text, that while himself on the cross, he bore the sorrows that our sins deserved. It does not mean that he conveyed our sorrows there, but that while there, he suffered under the intolerable burden and was by that burden crushed in death. The phrase ‘on the tree,’ literally ‘on the wood,’ means the cross. The same Greek word is used in Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal. 3:13, as applicable to the cross, in all of which places it is rendered tree.
That we might die to sin. In virtue of his having thus been suspended on a cross, that is, his being put to death as an atoning sacrifice was the means by which we become dead to sin and live to God. The phrase ‘being dead to sins’ is, in the original, ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ἀπογενόμενοι—literally, ‘to be absent from sins.’ The Greek word was probably used (by an euphemism) to denote to die, that is, to be absent from the world. This is a milder and less repulsive word than to say to die. It is not elsewhere used in the New Testament. The meaning is, that we being effectually separated from sin—that is, being so that it no longer influences us—should live unto God. We are to be, in regard to sin, as if we were dead, and it is to have no more influence over us than if we were in our graves. See Notes, Rom. 6:2–7. The means by which this is brought about is the death of Christ (See Rom. 6:8;) for as he died literally on the cross on account of our sins, the effect has been to lead us to see the evil of transgression, and to lead new and holy lives.
And live to righteousness. Though dead in respect to sin, yet we have real life in another respect. We are made alive unto God, to righteousness, to true holiness. Notes, Rom. 6:11; Gal. 2:20.
By his wounds. This is taken from Isa. 53:5. See it explained in 1 Peter 2:25. The word rendered stripes (μώλωπι) means, properly, the livid and swollen mark of a blow, the mark designated by us when we use the expression ‘black and blue.’ It is not properly a bloody wound but that made by pinching, beating, and scourging. The idea seems to be that the Savior was scourged or whipped; and that the effect on us is the same in producing spiritual healing or in recovering us from our faults as if we had been scourged ourselves. By faith, we see the bruises inflicted on him, the black and blue spots made by beating; we remember that they were on account of our sins and not for his, and the effect in reclaiming us is the same as if they had been inflicted on us.
You have been healed. Sin is often spoken of as a disease, and redemption from it as a restoration from a deadly malady. See this explained in Is. 53:5.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews