“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.
Even though 1 Peter 3:18 is one of the greatest verses in the Bible, Peter introduces it incidentally while dealing with the broader issue of Christian suffering. This superb section of Scripture sets forth the wonderful work of Christ on the cross.
For Christ also
“For” — The previous verse declares that it could be the will of God that we suffer for well doing. Now Peter sets before us the great Example for suffering, the Lord Jesus himself. By connecting this “for” to verse seventeen we see the connection between Christ’s suffering and our blessing. This “for” guarantees our eternal blessing.
“Also” – Jesus, like us, suffered for well-doing. Jesus is not an example of suffering for those without Christ. We cannot imitate Rembrandt and we cannot perfectly follow the example of Christ. That is why his example slams heaven’s door in our face. That is why we need a Savior. Only the death of Christ on the cross saves sinners. We cannot perfectly keep the ten commandments. We do not have it in us.
Only Christ can sufficiently suffer for sin in God’s eyes.
Some people complain “What have I done to deserve this?” This implies that all suffering is from sin. They gain satisfaction from this thought, “O.K., I had this coming. I’ll stand up and take it like a man.” When the pain is over they say, “There! I’ve paid the penalty. I’m square with God.” This is double suffering because now they grieve their Lord by suffering for sin rather than accepting the finality of Christ’s suffering for sin.