The Berean Expositor
Volume 9 - Page 80 of 138
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Peter in his first epistle speaks of "being dead to sins" and the context illuminates the
expression. He tells us that Christ's sufferings leave us a "copy" (hupogrammos, the
copy set for a pupil, the lines traced out for workmen to work by) with the object that we
"follow His steps, who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth (works and
words, compare Eph. 4: 28, 29, `hands', `mouth'); who being reviled, reviled not again:
suffering, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously;
who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins,
should live to righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed" (I Pet. 2: 21-24).
Christ's sufferings as a "copy", following "His steps", meekly submitting instead of
giving place to the "old man and his deeds", these are to do with having died to sins.
Let us not hold back from the doctrine of this important verse (Eph. 2: 1). We know
and rejoice, as the context teaches, that it is all of grace, that it is not of works, yet, we do
not misunderstand grace and teach licence for liberty, and with the context would
emphasize that while our salvation is not out of works, it is unto good works. Let not a
spurious "holiness" deprive us of the true. All our holiness is found "in Christ", and we
cannot walk worthy of our calling if we do not realize that we who died to sin should also
be dead ones to sins. Let us again emphasize that the "truth" is not that we have put off
the old man, but that we have put off the old man with his practices (Col. 3: 9). The
"truth" is not that the old man is crucified, and that is sufficient; no, the old man is
crucified, and the body of sin powerless, that we may be no longer enslaved to sin.
"Know ye not", said the apostle of grace to those justified by faith, "that to whom ye
yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey: whether of sin
unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Rom. 6: 16). If such words do not
harmonize with our doctrine, let us give up that doctrine, but let us hold fast the faithful
Word. We feel constrained to emphasize that those believers to whom the marvels of
grace and glory were revealed (as in Eph. 1:), those spiritual blessings, those heavenly
places, that predestination, that these believers were not led to believe that free grace
meant irresponsibility, but rather that free grace gave them for the first time freedom to
serve and obey from the heart the mind and will of God which had been hitherto
impossible. The apostle says they were dead to trespasses and to sins. Let us consider
these two words.
TRESPASSES (paraptõma).--The original word is from parapiptö, to fall off or
away (e.g., Heb. 6: 6), and means a fall, an offence. Dr. Bullinger in his lexicon
explains it as:--
"A falling when one should have stood upright, a misfall, mishap; hence a falling from
right, or duty, the particular and special act of sin from ignorance, inadvertence, or
negligence; sin rashly committed by one unwilling to do an injury."
Gal. 6: 1 gives this element of surprise or of being caught unawares, "Brethren, if a
man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of
meekness; watching thyself, lest thou also be tempted". It is the word which is used in