Up to this point we have discussed the various principles that are timeless. They were relevant 2000 year ago just as the do now. As we move into , we know that the people that Peter is speaking to did have a high level of persecution. They were probably asking questions of why they were going through hard times. And it was leading them to disobedience. Peter relates to his own experience. He says that it was the obedience in Jesus that got him through the suffering. The suffering was a part of the obedience, to give him focus. Here Peter is answering those probable questions from new Christians of why go through suffering.
Peter is saying to them that Christ suffered in the body and that suffering was a part of God’s will. He uses the term to “arm” oneself just as a soldier would arm themselves for battle. But he is also reminding them that the suffering is not connected to sin. Sometimes Christians believe that suffering is related to some sin they have. But Peter here is reminded them that the sinless Jesus suffered. We have to remember that sin does not define us, and suffering is not always related to some falling short on our part.
We have to live our lives connected to God. Living for His will and not for those things that might make us comfortable or fulfill our desires. That we are to live this earthly lives for God. There will be times when we will ask “Why are we going through this?” Don’t beat yourself up over asking those questions. But we are to respond to those questions by living in God’s will. Sometimes we cannot understand what is going on. At that moment, we just trust in God and follow His lead.
Peter then moves on to address another question that probably came up. If we are going through this suffering, why not just live out sin and not suffer? But Peter says that we have all lived long enough just as an unbeliever does. He lists several sinful passions, ways that a person gives their heart away. We don’t want to go back to that life. We don’t want to take away our righteous passion from God, and give it away to sinful passion.
The unbeliever will be surprised when you don’t live like they do. They might even heap abuse on you. They are surprised that you cannot lose yourself in those activities, that you don’t need those activities, and that you are confident in God’s will for your life.
But God’s judgement is ultimate, but it also is individual. God will judge others, but that is not to have anything to do with us. We are to live for Him and know that God will provide a place in heaven. Regardless of the world, regardless of the situation, regardless of the struggle, we will live as His forever!
God works through you and your trust in him. He needs you to listen to His voice. And as we interact with the world, His truth will be shown through you to the lost. Times will be tough, and we can’t let those tough moments push us away from God. We don’t have to get it at the time, we only have to hold tight to the will of the Father and allow him to move us.
4:1 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. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.
7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (ESV)
4:1 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, (ESV)
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. (ESV)
3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. (ESV)
4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; (ESV)
5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. (ESV)