The Three Reasons Why we are to have Patience in Suffering

Easter 4 Tuesday

1 Peter 2:22

“Who did not do any sin, and there was also no deceit found in his mouth.”

 

The third aspect where Christ has preeminence before others is what St. Peter here quotes from Isaiah 53:9. Here you can take stock to see how great this man has to be. For there has never been anyone on earth who did not sin in words or deeds. It says in James 3:2, “He who does not fail in a single word is a perfect man.” But where is he, and what is his name? It is this one Christ, James should have added here; he is the only one in this category. For all the other people St. Peter also puts in a single pile and says: “You were once as erring sheep,” etc. And later, in 1 Peter 3:18, he posits this clear distinction: “Christ has suffered for all our sins, the righteous for the unrighteous.” There has never been anyone innocent or without sin, both in words and deeds. For those are the two aspects that comprehend the entire life and being of men, words and deeds, speaking and doing, as they are also juxtaposed elsewhere in Scripture, e.g., in Psalm 34:13-14: “Keep your tongue … from speaking deceit; and cease to do evil and do what is good.” But speaking is the noblest of the two: teaching others correctly, advising, exhorting, comforting, rebuking, confessing the truth, etc. Here no one will be so perfect as not to have failed in something. This is why Christ’s example is also in part in the highest degree. It is impossible for all saints to follow his example. For no one will be so arrogant and sacrilegious – unless he wanted to change from being a child of God and believing Christian into a liar and saint of the devil – as to put himself on the same level as Christ in this matter and boast of being without sin in words and works. And this is why this title will with honor and truth only be applied to the Lord Christ: He, and no one else, suffered, the righteous for the unrighteous. For no one is righteous and innocent on account of his words and works. All must confess that what they suffer is to be blamed on their sins and that it is a well-deserved punishment. And the fact that they do not forever remain in God’s wrath and eternal punishment and condemnation is only due to this righteous one who, without any guilt of his own and without requiring it for himself, willingly suffered and paid for the unrighteous ones, reconciling God’s wrath. The suffering of all the saints must be kept under the suffering of the Lord Christ. Along with all Christendom, they must pray, “Forgive us our trespasses,” and confess this article, “I believe the forgiveness of sins.” Now you can summarize the three aspects whereby St. Peter exhorts the Christians to patience in all their suffering: You are called to suffer, he says first of all, and even if you have to suffer greatly and much, there is Christ’s example which you cannot reach; and you may not boast in, or insist on, having reached it even if you have everything already. For you owe it to suffer for God’s sake. This is the one aspect. The second is that Christ did not suffer for himself, that he also did not have to suffer. He suffered for you and out of his good will. Third, he also was completely innocent, without any sin, inside his heart and on the outside with words and works. For when there is something evil in the heart, it cannot remain hidden for long; it must also appear outwardly, at least with words, as Christ says, Matthew 12:34: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

 

St. Louis ed., 12:549-551.

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