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Patience Under Suffering PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tolbert S. Dalton   

Zion's Advocate, 1896

"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to, death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison." (1 Peter 3:18-19).

The example of Christ is here presented as an argument for patience under sufferings. Jesus Himself was not exempt from sufferings in this life though, He had no guilt of His own and was truly just, and could have declined all suffering if He had pleased to do so. The reason or meritorious cause of Christ's suffering was the sins ~)f His people. Christ suffered for sins. He suffered to expiate and make atonement for the sins of His people, and it extends to all the sins of His chosen family.

In the case of the suffering of Jesus, it was the just for the unjust. He Who knew no sin suffered instead of those that knew no righteousness, and the merit and perfection of Christ's sacrifice were such that for Him to suffer once was enough. The legal sacrifices were repeated from day to day, and from year to year, but the sacrifice of Jesus once offered purges away sin forever, as you can see by reference to Hebrews 1:3, and other scriptures too tedious to mention here.

The blessed end and design of our Lord's sufferings was to bring us to God, to "reconcile us to God", and to give us access to the Father, and to render our services acceptable, and to bring us to eternal glory, which work, He fully accomplished when he died upon the cross.

Therefore all this ado that men are making about bringing sinners to the Lord is worse than folly, and no sensible Bible-reading man can believe any such nonsense. God has never required of us to do the work that Jesus did while He was here on earth, and Jesus said Himself, in His prayer (St. John 17), "I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work thou gavest me to do." Not we have finished it, but I have clone it, and we should keep in view this grand truth, that, "Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before Him" (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

The issue and event of Christ's sufferings as to Himself were these: He was put to death in His human nature, but He was quickened and raised again by the Spirit. And now, if Christ suffered for the expiation of our sins, why should we not be content under our sufferings, knowing that they are only for the trial of our faith, and for our correction as the children of the Lord. If Jesus once suffered and entered into glory, why should not we poor criminals be patient under our sufferings and troubles, since it will be but a short while, if we are what we profess to be, until we shall follow Him to glory?

It is our candid opinion that the preaching referred to in verse 19 was in the days of Noah. As he said, "When once the long suffering of God Waited in the days of Noah while the Ark was preparing, wherein eight souls were saved by water." And Peter speaks of the spirits in prison. We have not believed that he meant to convey the idea that they were in prison at the time the preaching was done, but, because they are now dead, and disembodied at the time when the apostle speaks of them, therefore he properly calls them spirits now in prison.

We know that some of our vulgar Latin translations, and the Popish expositors pretend to teach that Jesus was off somewhere preaching to these spirits after their bodies were dead, and giving them the second chance to accept and be saved, but this is all bosh and unworthy the thought of intelligent minds. But Peter would here set forth the idea that Jesus in the Spirit was preaching the gospel through Noah, to those disobedient people, and warning them of the approaching flood which would sweep them from the face of the earth, and now Peter would speak of it as being the same Spirit then that had quickened Christ and raised Him up from the dead. And this is the same Spirit that now dwells in the people of the Lord, that shall also quicken their mortal bodies and bring them up from the grave and make them immortal bodies, and fit and qualify them for a home of rest in the glory world.

These, my friends, are some of the thoughts on the above text, and we hope the Lord may sanctify them to your comfort and edification, and His Own name's glory.

Yours to serve,

T. S. Dalton

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 September 2006 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.