Lesson 17

The First Epistle of Peter

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

4:1 Forasmuch then as 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; 4:2 that you no longer should live the rest of your time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 4:3 For we have spent enough of our past time living in doing the desire of the Gentiles, and to have walked in lasciviousness, lusts, drunken binges, orgies, carousings, and abominable idolatries. 4:4 They think it is strange that you don't run with them into the same excess of riot, blaspheming: 4:5 who will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 4:6 For to this end was the gospel preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed as men in the flesh, but live as to God in the spirit.

Today's Lesson 

Peter continues in this passage to encourage these Christians to endure the suffering that they are experiencing with hope and faith. He has continually appealed to the example of Jesus Christ as one that suffered and yet trusted Himself to God the Father. Jesus continued to walk by faith even when it was certain that His faith would lead Him to His death. Peter writes to these Christians at this time and tells them to "arm yourselves also with the same mind."


So often the writers of the New Testament Scriptures appeal to the life of Christ as an example for our faith. It is easy for us to believe sometimes that the life of Jesus was so long ago and so removed from our situations that His example is less important for us today. While God continues to provide us with examples of holy living in the lives of Christians all around us, we never outgrow the need to reflect on the life of Christ. He was the Lamb of God that was chosen before the foundation of the world and He remains the perfect example of obedience and holiness.


Peter writes that he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. Because Peter is continuing to use the example of Christ we know that the suffering that Peter has in mind here is suffering that leads to death. Christ suffered in the flesh and because He died and rose, sin has no more power over Him. He was willing to become sin, the righteous for the unrighteous, but now His victory over sin is complete.


Peter tells us through this letter that in the same way we must be through with sin. If we died with Christ and are raised with Him then sin is dead to us as well. And we are dead to sin. We must no longer spend our lives after the desires of the flesh. Peter lists many of them here. Such things once attracted us but they no longer have a place in the lives of Christian saints.


Those who continue to live by the ways of the flesh think it is strange that we do not follow after the same desires. While the world continues to blaspheme and live after the flesh, the Spirit of God who lives in us restrains us. It is difficult for the world to understand why we no longer desire such things. Because the flesh controls them, they cannot understand the ways of the Spirit.


But we worship one who is ready to judge the living and the dead. The gospel has been preached to all men. All mankind will all be judged as men in the flesh and all mankind has the opportunity to live for God in the spirit. For this reason, and to this end, Christ is Lord of all, the living and the dead.


Let us use our time as wise men and women. Let us turn away from the sin of the flesh that profits us nothing. Such things lead only to death. Let us, instead, turn our hearts toward the Lord of Life who stands willing to lift us up into the heavenly realms. It is time to walk by faith in what God has given us to do. It is time to live life in obedience to the Lord of Life.


Are you willing to be of the same mind as Christ Jesus? Are you willing to spend tomorrow living for God in the Spirit?

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