“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, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God” (I Peter 4:1-2).
When last we met, we discussed the meaning of the Apostle Peter’s statement in I Peter 4:1 when he wrote, “For whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” We submitted several different interpretations to the particular phrase “has ceased from sin.”
Some interpret it to mean the character building effects of suffering. Or it may mean that all those in union with Christ in His suffering and death are considered not to be sinful since Christ has died for their sin and taken its penalty ( I Peter 2:24; 3:18; Romans 6:7).
However, in light of what Peter wrote in I Peter 2:24, we believe that what he means is that believers are no longer living for sin but rather increasingly living for righteousness. We have ceased to have sin be our desire to fulfill but rather we seek to be holy in all we do. I Peter 4:2 supports the interpretation that the believer in Christ is striving to no longer live for sin but rather to live to be holy as the Lord is holy.
Peter writes “so as to live for the rest of the time.” The word “live” (βιόω; bioo) means our conduct in daily living. “For the rest of the time” is a phrase taken from the Greek word χρόνος; chronos, from which we derive our English word chronology meaning things as they happen. Peter says that our conduct in daily living as a Christian from this point on as things happen in our lives should be for one singular purpose.
That purpose is that while we live on this earth we no longer live for human passions (ἄνθρωπος; anthropos; ἐπιθυμία; epithymia). Human passions are lustful cravings. John calls them the lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eyes and the boastful pride of life (I John 2:15-17). This describes the sinner’s desires prior to conversion to Christ.
Rather, the believer in Christ now lives for the will of God. In other words, that which God purposes as right, good and holy should be what the believer continually pursues each and every day.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that living in such a way is counter cultural. In fact, the world hates this type of living. People who live biblically right, good and holy lives interfere with those who desire to live for sin. When the two different lifestyles converge, at home, work or school, there is bound to be conflict and suffering. We have seen in I Peter that we must never cause suffering, and at the same time we are to be biblically prepared to receive it.
This will require the believer to possess a strength and courage to persevere. Thanks be to God that He gives this strength to each believer through the Holy Spirit. Have a blessed new day as you strive to live for the will and glory of God.
Soli deo Gloria!