The humanity of Christ possessed inner joy and happinesses during His earthly ministry which culminated with the Cross. Having faced the same kinds of experiences and temptations common to man, yet without sin, He demonstrated the Father’s perfect provision for living the spiritual life in obedience to the Divine Plan which would result in Him going to the Cross and purchasing salvation through His substitutionary death. The Apostle Peter challenged Jewish believers scattered throughout Asia Minor to … “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16 NIV). They were to live the spiritual life just as the humanity of Christ had, under the filling and mentorship of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, when faced with pressure and adversity, which was ever increasing against Christians, they were to imitate the spiritual life He proved to be successful. This would be a unique life, one empowered by the Holy Spirit apart from self-effort. It required learning the Word and applying it as He so skillfully did. The Father would be glorified, and His Cross would provide salvation for every individual who placed their faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
In Peter’s day, the majority of the empire was composed of conquered peoples in the employment of the Romans. Peter urged them to … “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. Submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh” (1 Peter 2:17-18 NIV). Their lot in life was difficult, but God had made perfect provision. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2 21, 23 NIV). In all the adversities and pressures experienced by Christ … “He committed no sin and no deceit was found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22 NIV).
Jesus chose to be obedient to the Father in all things. Though He had no sin nature, He could, from His volition, chosen to forsake the will of God. Yet He did not. Believers, though saved, still have that sin nature which will only be shed at physical death. Thus, even with the best of intentions, there will be times when Christians fail to trust God, to submit to God’s perfect will, and to react in time of adversity or prosperity. Failure to quickly confess those things which are contrary to God’s thinking will result in empowering the flesh to pursue its own intentions and desires. Within the Christian will be evident the spiritual conflict in which the flesh wars against the Spirit of God.
Paul stated this reality in his letter to the Romans … “Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” (Rom 7:20 NIV). On the eve of the Cross, Jesus, knowing the frailty of the human flesh, gave needed instructions to His disciples in order to carry them through His crucifixion and then enable them to fulfill His commands … “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:9b-12 NIV). “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:12-13b NIV).