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1 Peter 4 - Arm Your Mind with the Will of God.

INTRODUCTION: Peter exhorts us to remember what Christ has done for us, and to prepare for our spiritual battle by arming ourselves with the mind of Christ. Part of that battle is within ourselves that we might treat others with mercy in like manner to the mercy, which we have received of God in Christ. Christ is our supreme example to live not in the lust of our flesh, but to the will of God. And as we continue our pilgrim’s journey in this world, we will have troubles, but should count them as small, compared with the surpassing glory assured for our eternal future.

1 Peter 4:1-2, 1769 KJV

"1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."

COMMENTS: Therefore, and consequently, since Christ suffered in a physical body, and did that in our behalf and for our benefit, (as stated in 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit): we then must be prepared with firm thought in our minds because he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased to be held captive of sin. If then, our deserved suffering has been performed for us once for all time, in Christ, why should we live to the lust of the flesh as if he has not suffered sufficiently for us? Later in this chapter, Peter clarifies that we share in Christ's suffering. 1 Peter "4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." Paul agrees that as Christians, we suffer with Christ. Romans "8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." So then, as Peter instructs, we should no longer live to the lusts of men, but rather live to the will of God! Some other verses tell us more about the will of God for us. Romans "12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Ephesians "6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;" 1 Thessalonians "5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." The Lord does not change, and the Old Testament speaks well to the point of his requirements for us. Deuteronomy "10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? 14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD'S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is." Micah "6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

NOTE: The Greek term in 1 Peter 4, verse one, translated as ceased in the KJV, is in the perfect tense, the passive voice, and the indicative mood. The suffering of Christ ended the power of sin with absolute finality, to eliminate our enslavement to it; and his action is an immutable fact that we can accept with unshakable confidence.

1 Peter 4:3-5, 1769 KJV

"3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead."

COMMENTS: It is enough that before conversion we had those times in our lives when we lived as unbelievers, with our actions concentrated on things we desired of the world. If we now are different from the commonplace actions of the general society; we will experience criticism, ridicule, scorn, and perhaps even harsh treatment because we do not join in the lifestyle of those around us. But they will be required to give account to the one who stands ready to judge those alive in Christ, and those dead in their sin. Acts "10:42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." 2 Timothy "4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;" Romans "14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."

1 Peter 4:6-7, 1769 KJV

"6 For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."

COMMENTS: And this is why God has sent the gospel message through preaching, so those dead in their sins could be judged as men in the flesh, unless they apprehend the opportunity to be made alive in the spirit through faith. The end of all things is close at hand, so every saint should be sober in conduct and continually watching in prayer. Peter surely heard of the need to watch and pray directly from the lips of our Lord. Mark "13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." Mark "14:38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." Luke "21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

1 Peter 4:8-9, 1769 KJV

"8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging."

COMMENTS: And above all things, be fervent in brotherly love for each other, because such love will cover over many sins that should not be remembered among the saints. And our love, will be the mirror of God's love in covering sin. Psalms "85:2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah." Wisdom from Solomon commends this principal to us. Proverbs "10:12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins." And God through the prophet, warned of trying to cover sin by our own means. Isaiah "30:1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:" Paul quoted David to make the point of God covering sin for man. Romans "4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." Using hospitality is to be friendly with warmth and to do so in a genuine, unfeigned manner, or as Paul says, Philippians "2:14 Do all things without murmurings [same Greek word translated as grudging] and disputings:" Paul also tells us to conduct ourselves "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." - Ephesians 4:2-3.

1 Peter 4:10-11, 1769 KJV

"10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

COMMENTS: Since every saint has the gift of God's manifold grace through the Holy Spirit, we should minister to each other through his Spirit to serve as stewards of the gift. Manifold can have the meaning of many parts within a whole, and we know his all-sufficient grace alone can meet a multiplicity of needs for the saints. Here are some verses connecting God's grace gift, with the Holy Spirit sent by Christ, also as a gift. Acts "2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Peter made the preceding statement before a crowd principally of Jews and proselytes, then later he defended the gift given to gentiles. Acts "11:17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?" The well known verse from Paul implies that the gift of grace and of the Holy Spirit is the essence of eternal life, all to the glory of Christ Jesus. Romans "6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." So we who have received God's gift must treat others with grace in like manner to the way we have received, not based on the merit of those unto whom we minister, because it is Christ working within us. Ephesians "3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power." Ephesians "4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."

1 Peter 4:12-14, 1769 KJV

"12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."

COMMENTS: It's as if Peter here in chapter four uses the refrain, "and again I say rejoice," even in trial by fire, because in chapter one he said, 1 Peter "1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" Paul said that joint-heirs suffer with Christ, but his words are seasoned with comfort by considering the superior future for the believer. Romans "8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." And another Bible book speaks of how faith in Christ gives confidence to the saints to look ahead always with joy. Hebrews "11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward." Jesus said himself that he is glorified in his saints. John 17:10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them." Paul gives further testimony under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 2 Thessalonians "1:10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day."

1 Peter 4:15-16, 1769 KJV

"15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf."

COMMENTS: It is important that we not suffer for things that ought not to be done. But if we suffer because we are a Christian, then we should not be ashamed to be identified with Christ, but we should glorify God, for Jesus told us to expect such things. John "15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." And Peter could well remember those words through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Paul reminds us that there is both suffering and great consolation for those in Christ. 2 Corinthians "1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ."

1 Peter 4:17-19, 1769 KJV

"17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator."

COMMENTS: We are part of the household of God, and if judgment begins with those in God's household through Christ, how great will be the difficulty and unrelenting suffering of those who have refused his adoption to salvation? The psalms make it clear that there is a definite distinction between those who belong to God, and those who do not. Psalms "1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish." Psalms "25:20 O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee. 21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee." Paul gave reassurance to the saints at Thessalonica that punishment awaits those who obey not the gospel, while Jesus will be glorified in his saints. 2 Thessalonians "1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day." Paul agrees with Peter that we can have complete confidence that our God is faithful. 1 Corinthians "1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." Galatians "1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." So, hold onto that confidence. Hebrews "10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." John adds his reminder that our sure hope is set in eternity, not in the passing world. 1 John “2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."

--- Reflections in prayer ---

Help me Lord to arm my mind with the realization that your all sufficient suffering has guaranteed the cessation of the power of sin in my life. I want to live the rest of my life to your will, and not to the desires of the flesh. Those times in my past when I have followed the world are enough of that lifestyle, so now I desire to resist such things even when it may bring ridicule or persecution, because I believe that the time is coming when judgment will separate those alive in Christ from those still dead in their sin. The gospel was given so there is none with excuse for rejecting the gift you have offered in Christ. May I watch in prayer for the end of all things, which is near, and may I have fervent love for fellow saints. Your gift of mercy is the motivation I want to use as I seek to minister to others, that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen. If I suffer any fiery trials, increase your grace to me that I might not weaken in my faith as I continue to glorify God in all things. May I rejoice for the privilege of reproach targeted at the Lord through me, remembering that there will be great joy at the appearing of Christ. Keep me from those things that are deserving of the temporal punishment by the governments of men, while reminding me that while I may suffer as a Christian, the unjust have an eternal penalty awaiting them. You are a faithful Creator God, and I have every reason to trust you completely with the well being of my soul. Amen.

Published 28 November 2005