This is a glorious, glorious declaration by God of the truth concerning His elect people.
- The “remnant of Israel” is not the elect of God out of the nation of Israel only. It is all those chosen by God in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4; Rom. 9:27-30; 11:4-5; Gal. 6:16; Rom. 9:6-8; Gal. 4:28). We can say this dogmatically on the ground that the Spirit of God gave Paul: “Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, seeing it is one God that shall justify the circumcision by faith and the uncircumcision through faith” (Rom. 3:29-30). In other words, God saves Jews and Gentiles in the same way, by Christ alone, because He is one God.
- Notice the result of God’s election of His people in Christ. They “shall do no iniquity.” Why? How can this possibly be?! This contradicts all experience in the Lord’s people (Rom. 7:21; Gal. 5:17)! God sees no iniquity in His people, not because there is none in their experience, but because Christ took away their sins in His sufferings and death. He made satisfaction for them. He fulfilled righteousness for them. He made them clean from all their sins before the LORD in that one day (Lev. 16:30; 17:11; Heb. 1:3; 1 John 1:7; Rev. 1:5; Rom. 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:21). The Gospel truth is this: all that Christ did, was done by His people. No, not in their personal action, but done by them in their representative Head. God receives all from Christ in His atoning work for His people. Christ did it all in their name. Because God counts it that way, it is theirs. Because God sees it that way, that’s the way it is (Rom. 5:12-21). Notice how Peter relies on this truth. He freely exchanges believers with Christ when he speaks of sin, of sufferings, of death and of life. Peter says that our sins were made Christ’s sins. Peter calls Christ’s accomplishments ours. He says the results of Christ's sufferings and death are our results and our blessings. He speaks of all that Christ did as ours: done by Him and blessed to us. “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24). Christ bore our sins. He therefore died (Rom. 6:23). And we are therefore dead to sins because of His relation to us and our relation to Him, which God established before time. All that He did, we did in Him. That’s the way God says that it is. That’s what really happened. God so united us to Christ by His eternal, legal act of electing grace, that all Christ did from His birth to His enthronement in glory was done for us and it happened to us together with Him (Eph. 1:4; 5:23-31; 1 Cor. 1:30; Rom. 5:12-21). We have had a being in Christ from eternity by God’s doing. He sees it that way, though the fulfillment of it in our personal experience has not yet occurred. But by God’s act of imputation, our sins were charged to Christ and His righteousness credited to us. He bore our sins as His. We committed them in our body. He bore them in His body. He became guilty of them. Just as we died because we were guilty of Adam’s sin, Christ died because He was guilty of ours. And His death was ours because we were in Him; we died with Him (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:6, 11). By His merit in His sufferings and death, our sins were discharged before God. He satisfied for them. He died to sin, we are therefore dead to sins, having satisfied for them in Christ. Christ was taken. He was beaten. He bore the chastisement necessary to make our peace with God (Isa. 53). He bore the stripes our sins deserved. By God’s act, our sins were made His. and His righteousness was made ours. He did nothing to contribute to our sin. We did nothing to contribute to His obedience. He did all by Himself, outside of our experience. And His obedience remains outside of us, in Him. It is ours because God put us in Him as our eternal covenant Head (1 Cor. 1:30; Rom. 5:12-21; Heb. 9:15; 13:20). All that He did is so much ours, that His stripes are our stripes, His sufferings our suffering, His death our death, His healing our healing, His resurrection our life, and His exaltation, our place in glory (Col. 3:3-4). The curse of the law that fell upon Him removed God’s curse against us. Have you ever noticed how Peter expresses this identity between us and Christ as if it were common knowledge (1 Pet. 2:24)? He does it again in chapter 4: Peter said that Christ’s sufferings are our sufferings, that as He has no more sin, and therefore we do not have sin any more: “As Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God” (1 Pet. 4:1-2). Peter speaks of Christ’s sufferings as ours, and the completion of His sufferings as our ceasing from sin. Our sins are put away. In His resurrection we are risen and justified; we are accepted by God with Him and as Him. Therefore, we ought to live no more as slaves to our flesh, but as those raised and seated with Christ. Faith brings this truth from God’s word to our conscience and in all of our thinking. We therefore continually bring all of our help from the throne of grace where Christ is seated as our Victor over sin, death the world and satan (Heb. 4:15-16; 1 Pet. 5:9 - whom resist steadfast in the faith).
- Moreover, God says that His people, in Christ "the Truth," and in "Jesus Christ the Righteous" (John 14:6; 1 John 2:1), do not “speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth.” Our Lord Jesus answered God in truth when He answered for His people with Himself. He is our Advocate. When a lawyer represents his client in court, all that the lawyer says to the court is received from the lawyer by the court as from the client. And the answer of the court to the lawyer is the answer of the court to the client. Now, Christ is our Advocate. He presents our case to the court of heaven. He argues God’s eternal covenant. He argues God’s acceptance of Himself as our Surety (Heb. 7:22; Ps. 119:122; Gen. 43:8-9; 44:32-34). He does not argue our innocence. He agrees with God’s law that says we are guilty. But He argues that God’s law (Gen. 43:8-9) let Him abide under that law to answer every precept and suffer its full curse “instead of the lad”, instead of all who were made sons of God by eternal adoption (Gen. 43:8-9; 44:32-34; Lev. 25; Eph. 1:4-7). He is made sin for us. The curse for our every sin is fully discharged on Him. He is the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10). He made satisfaction for them. Therefore, His answer of Himself satisfies the court, and the court discharges every sin and accusation against us (Rom. 8:34; 1 John 4:10). His meritorious sufferings have fully discharged our every sin before God. We are now forgiven for Christ’s sake (Eph. 4:32). God raised Him from the dead. Truth is upheld. Grace and life are abundantly lavished (Ps. 85:10; Rom. 8:10). There is no lie in all of this. There is no lie about our sin. There is no lie about God’s justice. There is no lie to God’s law. Christ answered all! His answer is the answer of His client, all for whom He stood! And God’s answer is that He raised Christ from the dead and set Him on the highest throne with all authority and in the glory of His Father (Php. 2:5-11; Rev. 3:19)! We are so much in Him that we were “quickened together with Him, raised up together with Him, made to sit together with Him” (Eph. 2:5-6). All that He did, we did together with Him, inseparable from Him. Christ is the truth and upheld the truth, and now we believe and tell the truth, that Christ has finished all (John 19:30; Heb. 1:3; 10:12). He is exalted (Php. 2:6-11). He is worthy of all glory and authority with His Father (Rev. 5:12-13; John 5:22-23). And we boast in Him alone. We worship God in Him (Php. 3:3; Gal. 6:14; John 20:28).
- “For they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid”. God gives faith to all He chose in Christ and ordained to eternal life in Him (Acts 13:48). This is “the faith of God’s elect” (Titus 1:1). Only the elect have it (2 Thess. 3:2). Therefore, if you look to Christ, you are born of God, redeemed by Christ’s blood, and chosen in Him from before the foundation of the world! Faith is God-given sight and God-given persuasion that Christ is my all before God, that He answered all for me, and that in Him I am accepted because He, the Beloved, is accepted, even accepted as He is accepted (Eph. 1:6; John 17:23-24). All is by God’s sovereign act that put me in Christ: “Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:30). This God-given faith does for my soul what eating does for my body. It satisfies and gives life. I take and eat and drink of Christ crucified as my answer, Christ risen as my acceptance, and Christ reigning and interceding as my salvation to the uttermost. I live thus upon Him (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 5:10; Rom. 8:34; John 6:51-56). In so believing Christ, we rest. We lie down. None shall make any afraid who see Christ as all in salvation. By Him we have boldness in the day of judgment (1 John 4:16-17). His love to us casts out all fear. Though we are considered as sheep for the slaughter, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us (Rom. 8:31-39).
What an unspeakably glorious Savior we have in Christ! What an unspeakable salvation He has accomplished for us! What unspeakable grace He has given us, that God made Christ our Substitute, our Surety, our Mediator and our Advocate! What grace, that He accomplished all in our place! And think of the grace to you and to me, dear brother and sister in Christ, that out of the darkness and void of your town or city or state or country of this world, we have heard and believed the Gospel of truth, even that everlasting Gospel (Rev. 14:6)! When I see Christ as my all, I am not afraid. I am enabled to trust Him, to love Him, and to patiently endure trials, all of which cause me to cling the more to Christ. Even when I fail temptations, that too works together by God's sovereign grace to convince me that I am but a sinner, and that Christ is the one and only great Savior of sinners (1 Tim. 1:13-15)! May our great God and Savior hold us fast to Himself in love!