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. – 1 Peter 4:1-6 ESV

As we reviewed last week, 1 Peter 3:19-22 are parenthetical, and the opening of this chapter with the use of ‘therefore’ ties directly back to 1 Peter 3:18.

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, – 1 Peter 3:18

This opening of the chapter to where Peter outlines baptism, not the removal of the filth of flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God; which happens by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God with all authority.

arm yourselves also with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin – 1 Peter 4:1b ESV

It has become clear that many of Peter’s writings are similar to the Apostle Paul, and this verse is another example.  Paul wrote in Ephesians:
12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12 ESV

Christ has overcome, but we are still here in this world and the war goes on for us, and in order to succeed and survive in this world, living out a Christian life, we need to be armed. Paul outlines the full armor of God, but Peter makes it clear that the principle item for warfare is the mind of Christ.

Do you feel that you have times when you are operating with the mind of Christ? Are there other times when you know that is not the case? What are some recent examples?

What do you think allows us the opportunity to pursue the mind of Christ?

There is no other way than to immerse ourselves in His Word, the scriptures. By studying the scriptures we learn the mind of Christ, because the Scriptures reveal Christ. Our culture today has substituted thinking with feelings. There is no open forums for debates and intellectual wrestlings. The media has pushed the whole concept of how we feel and what makes us feel good and the things we should avoid because it negatively impacts us.

We know from history that the Helenists were the great philosophers. They were drawn to Athens to have intellectual interactions. There was a centerpiece in various areas called “bema” and that was like a soapbox. People would get on and share their thoughts and intelligence. This was one of Paul’s most famous actions during his ministry. Many of Paul’s recorded speeches are from bemas.

I know I have come to believe that we cannot find the mind of Christ in fifteen minutes a day. We must immerse ourselves in the Word of God if we really want to progress in this battle. Whether it is a printed bible, your phone or audio clips; the treasure of Scripture has to become the sweet nectar we desire.

2That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. – 1 Peter 4:2 KJV

Who is this verse referencing?

This is a tricky verse and can be misunderstood if we run over it too fast. Some may think that this verse is referring to Jesus overcoming the challenges of living out a physical flesh, but I want to point out a great way to think through scripture and put verses like this into context.

Peter was not referring to Jesus flesh in this verse. How do we know that? When it says that he should “no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh of the lusts of men”, that would mean that there was a time when it was being done, and we know that obviously that cannot be related to Jesus. Think through verses such as this one use the facts you know to help you clarify your thoughts. Many times it is not that difficult if we just pause and think of what we are reading. That is called discernment.

Now let us re-read this Scripture and make it more personal and come alive…

Dano should no longer live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

Put your name in there…

________ should no longer live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

The New Living Translation cuts right to the heart on this verse with not word substitutions:

2You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. – 1 Peter 4:2 NLT

We learned in our study of Romans, in chapter 6, that we have died to sin. There is a sense in which the old man is still very much alive, and we deceive ourselves if we think that we have moved completely beyond recreation of sinning. But something dramatic has taken place. If we declare we are Christians and the Holy Spirit has regenerated our soul, then in a very real sense our old man has been put to death. A death sentence stands over our sinful nature, and we have been made alive in our soul by the Holy Spirit.

This whole situation is like the war that we describe in reality. D-Day has taken place. The war has been won, but the battles still rage on. As many historians can attest, some of the bloodiest battles of World War II happened after D-day. Much like our lives here on earth. The war is declared over, but we can get caught in some pretty bloody battles with the enemy that has no power.

We need to put to death the sin of our flesh, our old way of life and live out life as the new man, the man made by the Holy Spirit. This section is similar to Paul’s writing in Ephesians 2:

1You were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. – Ephesians 2:1-3 NASB

No one can cling to Christ as Savior until he first acknowledges that he is a sinner who needs a Savior. Many people have come to the church seeking help. They come to the bible and find wisdom and then find teachers and Pastors to help explain the Scriptures, but the mindset is that they are going to implement the rules and tricks to make a better life. They forget the part where they need to declare and live knowing they need a Savior to make the difference, not the rule book.

Many of us watch football, and all the analysis shows and ESPN Sportscenter and they go on and on about plays, strategy and tactics. We sit at home and think we know the sports we watch. Many times we even think we can do better than the person playing the game, yet we never put it in action. Let us not just learn the Word, but let the Holy Spirit change us. Let us realize we cannot do it on our own. We need a Savior.

3 You have had enough in the past of the evil things the godless enjoy—sex sin, lust, getting drunk, wild parties, drinking bouts, and the worship of idols, and other terrible sins. – 1 Peter 4:3 TLB

We know the pitfalls and pains of our former ways of life. We ought to spend our time for the will of God. We have spent enough time doing the will of pagans, when we walked like they walk. In lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, drug deals and horrible idolatries.

4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. – 1 Peter 4:4 NIV

Peter could have added what he learned from Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus said:

11 God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way. – Matthew 5:11-12 TLB

If we stop behaving as we used to behave and as the world behaves, and if we march to a different drummer, people are not going to like it. They will speak evil of us, even if we love them. They think it is strange.

Many of us are familiar with drinking and or other ways of numbing our  senses. The objective of substance abuse, regardless of the form, is to get rid of all moral inhibitions so that there can be a flood of dissipation. We can not feel bad about doing bad. We justify the idea we need to be rewarded. We slowly climb onto the throne and push the King off for a while. We have to realize there is a cost to such actions.

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. – 1 Peter 4:5-6 ESV

Peter is not talking about Jesus preaching to dead spirits, rather, he is indicating the reason Christ came. Jesus preached the gospel, and many of those who had heard Him and believed had died, so their battle was over and their victory won.

When we get unexpected news of a death of someone we know, we wonder immediately how he or she died. Were they killed in an automobile accident, was it from natural causes? Did they have a heart attack? From a biblical standpoint, there are only two conditions in which someone dies; in the faith or out of the faith.

Everyday we are judged by people, sometimes fairly and sometimes unfairly, sometimes graciously and sometimes without grace. Yet judgement made about us in this world – good or bad – ultimately does not count, because it is a judgement made in the flesh. The only judgment that counts is the judgment of God, so we are to live not according to the judgement of people but according to God in the Spirit.

Don’t believe that living that way means that all the rules are gone and we can live anyway we want to. We need to remember that we should be striving to live out God’s will for our lives, not our will for our lives.