Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,1 Peter 4:1(NASB)
I am sure, as Peter started to write his epistle, his thoughts must have raced back to that day when he denied His Lord three times. Jesus had died for him and taken the punishment that he rightfully deserved.. and yet Peter was not rejected or replaced. Peter was not only forgiven of all his sins, but re-commissioned by the risen Lord Jesus Christ, to be His chief apostle - who would feed His sheep, shepherd His lambs.. and unlock the kingdom of heaven to Jew and Gentile alike, as he shared the wonderful gospel of grace.
Since Christ had suffered in the flesh for him, Peter wanted to dedicate his life to his Lord, no matter what cost, or how unjust the suffering he, himself, had to face. Peter knew that the road to the kingdom of Christ must pass via the cross - and this is no less true for those that are saved by grace through faith, today.
The cross is before the crown, and earthy pain and human sorrow precedes our heavenly reward and eternal joy. Christ patiently endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him, and likewise His disciples must follow in their Master's footsteps. Since Christ suffered in the flesh.. we should also be ready to arm ourselves with the same determined purpose, as our Lord - and for His glory.
Christ suffered unjustly with much patience.. and we are to apply this same principle of patient-endurance, in the midst of unfair treatment and discriminatory practices that we may receive, in our own Christian walk. We who have been bought with the precious blood of Christ Jesus our Lord, should arm ourselves with the same courage and determination.. and to accept suffering in this life, for the sake of our God and Saviour
Because Jesus suffered in the flesh on our account, we are to arm ourselves with the same resolve and purpose as Him .. because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.
But what does it mean that.. he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin? When we are born again we do not automatically become sinless, even though we have been covered in Christ's righteousness. We retain a sin nature, until we go to be with the Lord, at either.. the resurrection of the dead OR the rapture of the saints. It cannot be said that we have ceased from sin.. for the Bible clearly says : 'if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us...'
Well, as born again believers, who have been saved by grace through faith.. we are eternally redeemed. However, we can choose to live the spiritual life or walk the carnal way. We can choose between living for self or suffering for the sake of Christ - where we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto the Lord.
We can live in the world and permit worldly philosophies to infect our lives and tarnish our witness.. or we can be in the world but not become part of the world. We can adopt the ways of the world which discredit our Saviour or we can swim against the tide of hatred and animosity - in a world that is at enmity with God and in conflict with His children.
We can take the easy route in life and compromise the truth of the glorious gospel and indulge in worldly ways and ungodly alliances OR we can take the path of purity and righteousness.. by eschewing all that is evil, and bearing the reproach of Christ in our suffering and shame - for how can we continue to be slaves of sin when the Lord Jesus, Who died for us, and rose again, has set us free from slavery sin and broken its suffocating hold on our lives?
Heavenly Father, that You for the wonderful example of Christ Jesus my Lord, Who came to earth to identify with my sin and suffering in the flesh.. on my account, so that I might be saved by faith in His sacrificial work on the cross. I pray that I may develop the same resolve to live holy unto the Lord, knowing that He has... not only paid for my sin - but has also broken the power of sin in my life. Praise His holy name. Thank You in Jesus name, AMEN.