“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” (1 Peter 4:1–5 ESV)
Since Jesus suffered, so too should we expect to suffer. We should “arm ourselves with this way of thinking.” We should expect suffering – we should not go looking for it, but when it comes our way we should not be surprised. When suffering comes, we must remember that our identity is in Christ and our inheritance is in glory. We must remember that this world is broken and that one day God is going to make all things right; He is going to make all things new (Revelation 21:5)
Peter says, “for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,” which represents either Jesus as our sacrificial sin offering, our new “dead to sin” nature that Paul discusses in Romans 6:1-11 or the fact that suffering has a way of killing sin at its root. All of these are true and regardless of how this is interpreted, Peter points us to abandon our fleshly, human passions and embrace the will of the Lord – which for this audience was suffering. If God is really sovereign, as Peter emphatically says in 3:22, then suffering must be part of His grander plan. Though we rarely see the reason during trials, and often times don’t after the trial (remember Job?), we must trust in His goodness & sovereignty and set our hearts toward heaven. We are exiles, sojourners, aliens & strangers – this is not our home. Our home and inheritance is in glory.
The believer that finds his identity in Christ & inheritance in heaven will readily abandon fleshly acts of debauchery. This will surprise those around them who participate in these acts and they will likely malign believers for not participating. This world is all that they have so they need to get everything that they can! All people will have to give an account for what they have said and done. All sin will be paid for – either at the cross of Jesus Christ or by the sinner himself. Justice will be served. This enables the saint to persevere when he suffers injustices. So set your eyes upon Christ, trust in His sovereign goodness and know that you have an inheritance waiting that is grander than you could ever imagine.
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