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Dying to Sin 1 Peter 4:1-5


Dying to Sin

Text. 1 Peter 4:1-5
Why do Christians suffer? Surely Christians should expect some earthly reward for their commitment? Peter begins this chapter with another reference to the suffering and death of Christ as being the paradigm for our suffering. We see…

1. The Death of Christ – Encouragement in Suffering. 4 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
Just as Christ suffered, willingly for sinners, – he chose to suffer for us – so we should recognise that to suffer for him is part of our earthly calling. Let us remind ourselves of the extent of his suffering. Peter again specifically emphasises the fact that Jesus suffered ‘in the flesh.’ Peter emphasises the bodily suffering of Jesus, because ultimately the Christians of Peter’s letter would be suffering in the flesh.
So Peter’s readers should:-

  • Be forearmed! We are to ARM OURSELVES. Ephesians 6:10  How do we arm ourselves? To have the mind, the ‘mindset’ of Jesus whose suffering was far greater than ours could ever be.. Philippians 3:5 Being willing to suffer for doing what is right and pleasing God, as Jesus did.
  • Put aside the sinful desires of the flesh and prepare for what being a follower of Jesus really means. Suffering is not an attractive lifestyle! Yet when we are living a life of following Jesus, turning our backs on the sinful lifestyles of this world, choosing the narrow road that leads to heaven, – we are pleasing God – if not the world.

So, the first thing we learn from the passage is that when we suffer, we take our example from Jesus, – living a life that is different from the world, expecting that as he suffered, we too will suffer.

2. The Death of Sin – Growth in Suffering.
Very often, when we suffer it has an effect on our spiritual lives. It makes us turn away in disgust and loathing from the natural tendency within us that leads us to sin, and long for spiritual life. So, in that sense –

  • Suffering is good for our sanctification! that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God – Peter’s words here indicate what he, and more importantly what Jesus thought of this old life. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. Now, we’ve wasted enough time on those worldly things. Stop doing them, put them behind you, don’t get involved in them. Paul talks about ‘redeeming the time, for the days are evil…’ John Owen called this ‘THE MORTIFICATION OF SIN.’
  • Suffering separates us from the sinful lifestyle we have left behind. Peter describes the lifestyle of the Gentiles here. lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.
    The description of their sin. They lived for the day. They lived for the flesh. They lived for pleasure. They lived for filthiness, wild drinking parties, living for unrestrained pleasure; shameless sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, and wanton idolatries.

    • The consequences of their sin. The consequences of this lifestyle are horrendous. The modern society worships the god of the groin, who must be appeased at all costs, and who demands that easy destruction of the results of sin be available to all. Psalm 106:36-39
    • The contemporary application. There’s something in this passage that describes me – describes every sinner. But we’ve been forgiven, completely, because of Christ’s death, and we no longer live for sinful pleasure. the Holy Spirit within us convicts us of our sin, continually, and we repent of it and receive forgiveness. We hate our sin, we are convicted by it, we reject it, we want to be free from it, to be like Jesus, to leave it all behind.

There’s two repercussions that will ensue from our rejection of the current morality:-

  • The world will be surprised that you do not want to enjoy their sexual freedom and their drunken lifestyle. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, They are amazed! ‘What kind of people are these Christians? – What’s their problem, that they don’t want to go to orgies and parties…’
  • The world will slander you! speaking evil of you Because they simply don’t understand why anyone would want to live without drunkenness, without sexual gratification on demand, without wild parties, their reaction will be to speak evil of you instead. You can hear them, “Those Christians, bigots, kill-joys, wanting to ruin our fun. After all, even Nolan tells us that sex is fun…”

So lesson number two is that suffering helps us to understand that the sinful pleasures of this world are meaningless trivia, soon to be destroyed, so we live for God’s will, and not for our sinful flesh.

3. The Death of Death – Vindication in Suffering5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
The last kind of death is the most encouraging for the Christian. We have experienced redemption because of the death of Christ, we are sanctified by the death of sin in our own lives, and one day, death will be no more. In heaven there will be no more weeping, no more tears, no more sorrow, no more sickness and no more death. So Peter looks ahead, looking at that time when this age will have ended and brings us comfort with that view…

  • Why we should be confident. Because no matter what we suffer in this world, the fact remains that this world wont last for ever. There will be a day when it will be gone and when all the wrongs that have been perpetrated in this life will be put to right.
  • Why we heard the gospel. When we were dead in our sins, living according to the god of the flesh, God gave us new life in Christ, spiritual life, which will save us on judgement day. We are saved, not just for time but for eternity!

So there is progression here. In light of our suffering, we are to arm ourselves, by having the mind of Christ – having his mindset, – he who suffered more than we will ever suffer. Remember that God has a plan, to redeem us, through the death of Christ, to sanctify us through the death of sin, and to bring us to glory when death itself will be no more.

© BobMcEvoy October 2018

From → 1 Peter, Bible Study

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