1Pe 4:1-2 “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; 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.”
The phrase “forasmuch as” carries the idea of certainty. Peter is assuring us that Christ has certainly suffered for us in the flesh. This is not in question. The anointed of God has suffered (to experience a sensation or impression [usually painful]) for us. Jesus did not come here because He needed to suffer anything for Himself. He left the glory He had with the Father, and clothed Himself in flesh for us. Every cruelty He endured, He endured for us. Every stripe, every spiteful word, all the shame, each blow of the hammer, and finally death He endured for us. Every painful sensation that was heaped upon Him in the flesh was for us.
Once we have this understanding, what is expected of us? We are to arm, or equip, ourselves with the same mind. As Christ suffered for us in the flesh, so we are to be ready to suffer for His sake in the flesh. There is great joy and thanksgiving in serving Him, but He assured us that if the world hated Him it would hate us, too. Only by exercising the mind of Christ (Php 2:5) can we be willing to certainly suffer for Christ’s sake and for each other (Php 2-3:4). There is a great blessing in this godly suffering.
If we have suffered in the flesh, then we have ceased from sin. We must keep this in the context of the instruction that has been laid down in the early chapters of this letter. Christ suffered in the flesh as an evil doer when He was, in fact, doing good. Remember that we have already been told that enduring punishment for doing evil is just. But when we exercise the mind of Christ we seek to do good and willingly suffer injustice for the glory of God and the good of His kingdom. When we are able to do this, we have ceased from sin.
This statement is never to be construed as saying we have ceased to be sinners when we suffer in the flesh. Paul tells us as long as we are walking in sin, which is easy for the flesh, we are the servants of sin. When we suffer in the flesh for righteousness, we are free from sin in that we have become the servants of righteousness (Rom 6:15-19). The fruit of having ceased from sin is that we don’t spend the time remaining to us running after the things that please men.
Instead of our attention always being on what we can do to please self, we find that we think more about how to please God. This is not prompted by fear of consequences, but rather by a deep and reverent love. How can we not love Him who laid aside Eternal Glory to suffer for us in the flesh, once the Spirit has made this known in our hearts? We know that sin is condemned in the flesh; it will be with us as long as we have a house of clay. However, when we are blessed to desire the will of God above the pleasures of men, then we know that we have ceased from sin. We can rejoice that we have not only been given the mind of Christ, but that we are exercising that mind.
May we be blessed to understand that He has given us the power to be free from sin while we live in the flesh to the glory of God!