Therefore, since Christ suffered for us[a] in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime[b] in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. 5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”[c] 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:1-11).
How does Easter shape your life? In this passage Peter draws application for us based on Jesus suffering on the cross, “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh…do this in our life.” A religion that has at it’s center a crucifixion is a scary religion––for its people. We follow a crucified Christ, a suffering Savior. Because Jesus Christ has shaped you at the cross through his death and resurrection, you are to live a cross-shaped life. What does this look like? Peter shows three results in our passage in 1 Peter 4. With a cross-shaped life, you are armed to fight against sin and to live for God. With a cross-shaped life, you have hope in the resurrection and judgment. With a cross-shaped life, you love God’s people and glorify the Father.
Armed to Fight Sin (vs. 1-4)
“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind.” Christ viewed the cross and his suffering on the cross as the means to fight against sin, and we are be armed with the same mind. Thus armed, we cease from sin. There are two ways to understand this and both are biblical and profoundly glorious. The first is we cease from sin because of our spiritual union with Jesus in baptism (Romans 6). The second way to understand this verse is more practical in that one who has committed to follow Jesus, even to the point of suffering for him, does not have the desire for sin. Sin grows bland, revolting, undesirable compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus. If you’ve armed yourself with the thought that you will suffer with Jesus, then you are ready to pile up the rubbish heap of all that keeps you from treasuring Christ.
That’s what Peter says, “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles, acting like the world––when we walked in lewdness, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.” Peter remembers when he walked like this––drunken nights down at the docks and the fights and the swearing, and he’s done with it! We’ve spent enough of our life chasing after sin. And you must be armed to fight first your own sin. “Now” is enough! Peter pleads with you abstain from the desires of the flesh because they war against your soul (2:11). Don’t give any more of your time to being drunk. Don’t give your strength to porn. Don’t fritter away your time in coveting. Don’t you remember that Jesus has redeemed you with his precious blood?
Arm yourself with the cross to fight your sin, and also fight against our culture’s celebration of sin, or even your friend’s. Have the backbone and gristle to be different than everyone else because you are doing the will of God. But sometimes when you live like that you get thrown into a lions den or chucked in a fiery furnace or nailed to a cross.
Judgment and Resurrection (vs. 5-6)
If your life is shaped by the cross, you have hope for the future. Even though those still running in the world will trash talk you, “they will give an account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but alive according to God in the spirit.” Peter recognizes that you got enemies that malign you because you’re not running with sinners and in sin anymore. He says that those who taunt Christians, look down on Christians, persecute Christians will give an account to the Judge. So don’t worry about you giving pay back. All wrongs will be righted. God will settle accounts with all people, the living and the dead.
Fervent Love and Covering Sin (vs. 7-11)
Above all, Peter tells us that to we must love one another, and love fervently. This is the clear result of those shaped by the cross. We love because he first loved us. “By this we know love because he laid down his life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for our brethren” (1 Jn. 3:16). We are told to cultivate a fervent love, and a good place to start with with hospitality. Give yourself away and do it without grumbling, just like Jesus did. What did Jesus do before the judgment of the cross? “Here is bread, here is wine.”
When we see the people of God, we see a parade of God’s amazing grace. God’s grace is evident and working in his people––those who teach, who serve, who throw baby showers, who pray for every prayer request on the church email, who clean up the fishy crackers ground into the carpet.
In All Things Glorified
What’s the result when Christians live cross-shaped lives? What happens when you refuse to run with the world and fight against your sin? What happens when you have the unshakable confidence that whether you live or you die, you belong to the Lord (Rom. 14:8)? What follows when you love and forgive and feast and serve and teach according to the grace that God gives you? Your cross shaped life becomes a living doxology––glory to God through Jesus Christ to him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.