I Peter 4:1 says “Therefore since Christ suffered in his body arm yourselves with the same attitude because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.”
I have often wondered what it would be like to be done with sin. To be completely obedient to Christ would be amazing, would it not? I am beginning to understand better the desire not to sin. In my early years I didn’t think of sin as sin. I usually just did what I wanted to do without much thought to it. As I grew in my faith I’m afraid that there were still times when I didn’t think of my sin as sin. But even worse there were times when I would fully know that God didn’t want me to do something and I would do it any way in order to please people or myself.
“is done with sin” is a beautiful phrase. To be “done with” means “to stop, pause, make an end. Used chiefly in the middle, pauomai, meaning to come to an end, to one’s rest a willing cessation. Contrast the passive voice, which denotes a forced cessation.” (Key Word Study Bible notes #4264) Making a choice to be done with sin often happens while undergoing a trial. A person under persecution and suffering draws closer to the Lord than one who’s life is without danger. The more we need God, the closer we draw to God therefore recognizing His divine nature. Seeing His holiness and His love more closely causes us to desire to please Him in everything we do.
“because he who suffered in his body” refers to any suffering that happens while you are alive. Which we know from Revelation will be the only suffering a believer faces. James 1:2 encourages us to “consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials of many kinds”. Every person will suffer in some way or another. Jesus encourages us to take heart because He has overcome the world.
“arm yourselves with the same attitude” causes me to picture the Roman soldier on the back cover of Priscilla Shirer’s Armor of God Bible study. He stands tall with his helmet of salvation on in order to protect his brain. His breastplate of righteousness is being held up by the belt of truth. His shoulders don’t hold the weight of his own righteousness, but Christ’s righteousness is securely protecting his heart and the weight is bore by God’s truth. His feet are shod with the gospel of peace. That is depicted by shoes that have spikes on the soles and leather straps working their way up the soldier’s calves. He’s ready to move out to areas unknown where the terrain may be difficult. Finally, his sword is sharp and ready to be wielded at the enemy as the truth of scriptures are able to go out and do damage to the enemy’s advances. Be ready for your enemy seeks to kill, steal and destroy you and everything you hold dear. He would love nothing more than to run wild and free in your life and mine, but if we will arm ourselves by putting on the full armor of God and walking in obedience the enemy will not make near as many advances. I get all of that from the word “arm” and the rest of the phrase cannot be ignored because the verse is not talking about the full armor of God, but instead about arming ourselves with the attitude of Christ which is best described in Philippians 2 and Isaiah 53.
Philippians 2:5-11 encourages us to take up Christ’s attitude.
1. Do not consider yourself equal to God. Now some of you are thinking, “well, I never!” But in actuality we do it every time we make a decision to sin. We make ourselves our own lord.
2. Instead, humble yourself now and seek His forgiveness. Make yourself nothing not for the sake of winning the humility award, but for the sake of serving God.
3. Humble yourself and obey God. No matter what He asks you to do, decide in your heart that you are going to obey.
4. Christ has been honored because He was obedient unto death and He has been exalted to the highest place. We don’t serve God to receive a place of honor, yet I Peter 5:6 promises that if we humble ourselves God will lift us up in due time. Motivation matters. Our goal cannot be exaltation or our attitude will not be the same as Christ’s. He considered himself nothing.
“Therefore since Christ suffered in the body” are seven extremely powerful words when strung together. He suffered ridicule, beatings, rejection, the most painful death imaginable, loneliness in ways that we can not even fathom and so much more. This Christmas take some time to read Isaiah 53 along with the Christmas story. It details all that Christ suffered in order that we might be healed from our greatest disease: sin. Consider the life, death and resurrection of Christ for it was the purpose of His birth.
Let’s choose to be done with sin. Let’s commit to each other that Satan will no longer control our thoughts, words or actions. Instead let’s line the walls of our minds and hearts with God’s word and let’s obey His voice.