1 Peter 4:1-2 ESV
“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.”
In what ways did Jesus suffer in the flesh? Well, he was fully man and fully God when he lived on this earth, and as fully man he suffered in many of the same ways (or in all ways) in which we suffer. So, there were times, perhaps, when he was sick or when he was injured, but he definitely was tempted to sin by Satan in a desert, yet he did not sin once.
And then he was rejected by the religious rulers in the temple of God, and many of them oppressed and hounded and persecuted and taunted him. They seemed to always be looking for ways to trip him up with his words, and so they would set up situations and they would lay traps for him hoping for a cause to accuse him and to discredit him.
Eventually they plotted and carried out his death on a cross, and when they arrested him, his disciples deserted him, as he said that they would, and one of them was his betrayer who turned him over to his enemies, and another denied him verbally three times, and he did so vehemently the third time. And then Jesus was crucified on a cross, although he had done no wrong.
Well not one of us is God, and not one of us is sinless, so we can’t identify with Jesus in that way. And we were born in sin, with sin natures, in the image of Adam, but he was conceived of the Holy Spirit with God as his Father, so he was the only begotten Son of God. But he did live in a flesh body and thus he did suffer in the flesh, and we can identify with that.
And when we come to faith in Jesus Christ we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And then we are to walk no longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit in self-denial, daily by the Spirit putting the deeds of the flesh to death and walking in obedience to our Lord Jesus.
And when we follow Jesus Christ with our lives, and we live for him and for his righteousness, and we do and say the kinds of things he did and said, we will also be hated, persecuted, mistreated, falsely accused, and perhaps falsely arrested and put on trial for crimes we did not commit. And I am not saying here that we are perfect as Jesus was perfect, but that we will be accused of things we are not guilty of because we will have people who hate us. And we will have friends and family members turn against us, too.
But when we share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, becoming like him in his death, it should humble us and it should lead us to be more like Jesus, and we should want to be led away from a desire for sin to a desire for holiness and righteousness. And we should then live the rest of our time on this earth in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.
1 Peter 4:3-4 ESV
“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.”
Sadly, it isn’t just those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ who are living like this. Many who call themselves Christians here in America live just like this. For they have come to accept the notion that they can be in Christ, have their sins forgiven, and have heaven secured for them, but that they can continue living in their sins, only now without guilt or remorse.
Thus, they are living for the sensual pleasures of the flesh. For they love (long for, prefer, esteem, and take pleasure in) the things of this sinful world over and above or in place of loving God and esteeming, longing for, preferring, and taking pleasure in him and in his commands (New Covenant). For they are all caught up in the lusts of the flesh and of the eyes and the pride of life in place of honoring God with their bodies.
So, if you choose to walk away from that lifestyle and to follow Jesus in a walk of purity and uprightness, don’t be surprised if some people who used to be your friends no longer friend you, or if family members or neighbors or other professers of faith in Jesus turn against you and reject you and heap on you all sorts of false accusations and personal attacks against your character.
For if you once joined them in sinful practices or in worldly living but then you were convicted of the Holy Spirit and so you shut the door on the way you had been living in order to walk in holiness, some of them may not respect you for your decision, but they may malign you, instead. And usually this is because your walk of faith now in Jesus is an offense to them and to their choices to continue in sinful practices and in worldly living.
1 Peter 4:5 ESV
“But they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”
But if you are truly walking with the Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands, and you are no longer walking in sin, but now in righteousness, and if Jesus is now your master, and sin is no longer in control in your life, and so you are truly suffering for righteousness’ sake, the Lord is with you, and he will help you through every difficult situation to give him glory by how you respond to unjust treatment. So you have no reason to fear.
And, in truth, all of us must give an account to God for how we choose to live our lives on this earth, either for his purposes and glory, or for the sinful desires of the flesh. For we are all going to reap what we sow. So, if the guilty go free while the innocent do not, in this world, it will be reversed when Jesus comes to judge and to take his bride to be with him for eternity. For if we live to the flesh, we will die in our sins, and we will not inherit eternal life with God. But if we live to the Spirit, we will have eternal life.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 14:23-24; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
By W. B. Stevens
Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder,
Why it should be thus all the day long;
While there are others living about us,
Never molested though in the wrong.
When death has come and taken our loved ones,
It leaves our home so lonely and drear;
Then do we wonder why others prosper,
Living so wicked year after year.
Faithful till death said our loving Master,
A few more days to labor and wait;
Toils of the road will then seem as nothing,
As we sweep through the beautiful gate.
When we see Jesus coming in glory,
When He comes from His home in the sky;
Then we shall meet Him in that bright mansion,
We’ll understand it all by and by.
Farther along we’ll know all about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, don’t worry, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.
Caution: This link may contain ads