1 Peter 4:1-3
“Having the same mind as Jesus: Against sin”
- Vs. 1a The same mind as Jesus
- Vs. 1b-3 Dead to the lust of the former life
Peter wanted to give an encouraging word to the church about their “great salvation” that should be producing a “living hope” even though they were experiencing severe persecution. The Holy Spirit led Peter to the example of Jesus who suffered for doing good in the will of God. In our modern form of Christianity many a believer is under the misguided notion that if they are in the “will of God” then they will know it if they are healthy, wealthy, wise and wonderfully happy about their current situation and circumstances. I’m afraid many Christians have no understanding of the process and purpose of their sanctification and are under the illusion that now as Christians everything and everyone ought to be engaged in giving them: What they desire When they desire it. In reality many Christians are living as if here and now on earth is their heaven and have no interest in a heavenly minded life! These professing believers have become placated by Churches and pastors that will grant them their every wish and have become about, “Creating spectators who go to church instead of participants who are the church.” Sunday sermons are little more than a classroom for kindergarteners instead of equipping the saints for service! Peter, like His Master Jesus, knew of no such Church as the text will exhort believer to NOW ACT on the example that Jesus has shown us in the midst of sever persecution!
- Vs. 1a The same mind as Jesus
Vs. 1a As noted many a time the word “Therefore” in the Bible is a conjunctive word that links what is being written with what was just written. What was written was the example that both Jesus as and Noah where as examples as seen in “the will of God in suffering for doing good”. Peter wastes no time in getting to his exhortation led by the Holy Spirit as he states it immediately “Since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, ARM YOURSELVES ALSO WITH THE SAME MIND”. The Greek phrase “Arm yourselves” was used of a soldier putting on his heavy armor and not his light infantry armor. The point of Peter is that the Christian is in God’s army NOW and needs the heaviest armor to withstand the attacks of the enemy of our soul both for our own flesh as well as satan. The expectation was not a suggestion for this suffering and persecuted Church it was a demand! First, we note that this is a mental battle as “outlook determines outcome” and the believer must possess the same “mind of Christ” with regards to unjust suffering and react the way He did towards it. Jesus said it in Luke 6:40 when He told His disciples “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” Peter had just given his readers insight about how great a sacrifice Jesus had made when he saved humanity from the satanic and demonic plot to make human redemption impossible by tainting the human DNA with demonic mutations. Peter also told his readers about when this took place which was after Jesus’ death and prior to His resurrection as He made a public proclamation to these mutations in hell. The exhortations focus appears to be upon the use of time and not upon the acts of what Jesus did during that time as the words “same mind” are linked with the exhortation to the reader of this letter “that he should no longer live the REST OF HIS TIME”. In looking at these 11 verses I see that Peter’s words are telling his readers that Jesus’ example of the use of time ought to produce four things that are of the same mind of Jesus that ought to be occupying our lives with until Jesus calls us home:
- Vs. 1-3 Dying to the lust of the former life
- Vs. 4-6 Loving the lost
- Vs. 7 Excited about our exit
- Vs. 8-11 Serving the saints
Time is the most precious commodity given to humanity but it is also the one most wasted And Peter wants to make sure to those who’s time is short and days are numbered that they “no longer should live the rest of their lives in the flesh for the lust of men, but for the will of God.”
- Vs. 1-3 Dead to the lust of the former life
Vs. 1b-3 The exhortation is easy enough for us to understand as we all the face the temptation when we are serving God and everything is coming apart to say, “Well here I am serving God and nothing is going right so I might as well go back and live like a sinner instead of a saint.” It seems as though Peter understood the nature of the flesh and the spiritual warfare that we Christians go through during difficult seasons as he offers his readers reasons why we should take a “militant attitude towards sin”. The dictionary defines a “Militant” as “Someone who is engaged is a war or acts aggressively for their cause.” If you are a militant then you do question your beliefs any more than a soldier questions his orders. Oh, to God we Christians would take aggressive actions towards our own sins the way we react to others! It is far too easy for us Christians to get accustomed to our own sin instead of hating it and fighting against it with all we have. Nothing I know of will destroy “THE REST OF OUR TIME” then the flesh and sin! Many a believer in Jesus has become a powerful weapon against God’s word and witness in the hands of satan as they have yielded to their flesh! Peter sees in these three verses three things that ought to detour us from going back “to living the rest of our time in the flesh for the lust on men instead of for the will of God”.
- Vs. 1b-2a “Since Christ suffered for us”: The Point Peter is making to these believers is when you are being tempted to go back to the life of the flesh STOP and realize what Jesus had to suffer in order to save us from what we are about to go back and do! The truth about our sin is that our flesh in conjunction with satan’s lies maximizes the temporary pleasure of sin for a season while minimizing three things about us to sin:
- How much time it wastes: Both while engaged in the sin and the guilt and failure we experience after we sin.
- How much destruction it causes: Our sin is like the aftermath of a tornado that leaves in its path broken homes and ruined lives.
- How much Jesus sacrifice has changed sin: Jesus finished work on our behalf against sin has not only paid the penalty for our sin past, present and future but also broken the power over us that sin had as we don’t have to sin now we choose to do so and satan would have us not know that we don’t have to sin.
How can we enjoy that which made Jesus suffer and die on the cross? Who would place in a glass case in a prominent place in your home a weapon that was used to kill your loved one? No, you would never want to see that weapon again. Jesus whole purpose to come to earth was to deal with human sin and to conquer it forever. He did so by living a sinless life, by teaching and demonstrating the truth before all. He dealt with the consequences of our sin on the cross by offering forgiveness, healing and the power to live differently. Jesus WAS a militant against sin all the while having compassion upon its victims, lost sinners! Our goal during the “rest of our time” is to cease from sin until Jesus returns or we go home to be with Him. Peter is not saying that our “suffering in the flesh” has caused us to stop sinning. The context is that if you are being persecuted to death for living for Jesus then you haven’t been actively involved in the “lusts of men” and is a sign that we are not living in the power of the flesh but in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Vs. 2b “Live…for the will of God”: Peter’s point is that we need to make good and wise investments with our time and there is no better investment with your time them being in the will of God. It is interesting that a child of God cannot just avoid the “lusts of the flesh” they must seek to live for the will of God! A life spent in just avoiding the things that will enslave us will not make any less a slave only we will serve a different master not the flesh but religion and legalism. Not if we are to be free people we must seek the freedom from the “lusts of the flesh” through the JOY OF PURSUING THE WILL OF GOD! We must not leave the waste of the world without the “Joy of the presence of God”! The will of God is no more a burden then a sunset or sunrise. Jesus said in Matt 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The will of God comes from the heart of Jesus sacrifice on our behalf. There will be times that we battle discouragement from our present situation and circumstances but don’t allow satan to take you captive to doubt of uncertainty when you can start with what you know to be true about God. We don’t know what He is doing but we do know that what He is doing is good and best for us and His glory and that it is impossible for Him to do evil! We don’t live on explanations we live on precious promises!
- Vs. 3 “For we have spent enough of our past life-time in doing the will of the gentiles”: There are times when the child of God can remanence about the “good ol times” and be tempted to fall back into the flesh but what Peter is suggesting isn’t looking at the temporary pleasures of sin for a season but rather the bondage and destruction that the pursuit of the flesh reeked upon our lives. We need to ask ourselves two question when tempted to sin:
- If sin was so pleasurable, so rewarding, so wonderful….why did you leave it?
- If sin is so good and desirable a condition then why did Jesus have to die to save us from it?
Peter goes on to list 6 past lusts of the flesh that many of these persecuted believers had wasted their life on. These things should remain dead and buried in their life not a present pursuit:
- Lewdness: This describes actions in which shocked and encourage disgust from even a pagan society. Most of this was sexual in nature and we see that becoming more and more prevalent in our current society.
- Lusts: The word in the Greek is not limited to sexual immorality but unrestricted passion for things that separate a soul from God, greed, gluttony are as poisonous snakes as sexual lusts!
- Drunkenness: This word is a compound word in the Greek that means wine and overflow. The Bible doesn’t forbid drinking alcohol, but it does forbid drunkenness and being under the controlled to overflowing where the drink is in control not the spirit of God!
- Revelries: This is a Greek word that means a wild party primarily centered around the worship of foreign god’s and ceremonies.
- Drinking parties: This phrase also is one that had connection with religious ceremonies and Paul speaks of it in 1 Corinth 10:14 as he forbids of drinking the cup of demons.
- Abominable idolatries: This phrase means “contrary to law justice, illicit and criminal.” The practices described in this were so reprobate as to be illegal even by the pagan Roman law!
Next week we will take up the other aspects of what we ought to be doing with our time in a world that is apart from God!