Peter presents a way to abstain from sin
The Apostle Peter writes about baptism but he specifies that this does not mean the putting away of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If the Son of God who is Jesus Christ did not raise from the dead our whole faith would be in vain. The Lamb of God who died for our sins rose from the dead on the third day. Do you know where Jesus Christ sits now? He sits on besides God the Father on the right hand. All of the angels, authorities and powers are made subject to Him. This is why Revelation chapter nineteen is able to refer to Jesus Christ as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords when He comes down from heaven and fights His enemies at the end of the seven year tribulation period.
Once again the Apostle Peter reminds His reading audience that Jesus Christ suffered for us in the flesh so our responsibility is to arm ourselves with the same mind. Peter at this point is talking about the body and he says for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin. I will of course elaborate on this principal after I quote the Bible passage.
Peter does continue on the same subject by writing that people who are redeemed through the shed blood of Jesus Christ should no longer live the rest of his or her time in the flesh to the lusts of men but to the will of God. Remember that was our old life before we became Christians. In fact Peter even says that in our past we did the will of man. Notice he did not say we did the will of God. In 1 Peter 4:2 he wrote now that we are believers in Christ we should be doing the will of God but in the following verse (3) he brings us back to our ugly past and says we used to do the will of man. He lists six sins that are very popular in this world which are lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries. As Christians if we did not crucify our flesh to these sins then we need to repent with the motive of forsaking our sin / sins. Let me quote the original text so you can read this passage and perhaps make reference to it if need be in this particular study of the Bible.
(21) "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Je'sus Christ: (22) Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject to Him." 1 Peter 3: 21 - 22.
(1) "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; (2) 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. (3) For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gen' tiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:" 1 Peter 4: 1 - 3.
I ended the last article in 1 Peter 3:20 on how Noah and his family who believed and were obedient were saved in the ark so the theme continues in verse twenty one in that Noah's salvation in the ark on the water prefigured the salvation of all genuine Christians by baptism. Peter is writing about saving baptism but not the outward ceremony of washing with water; however, this becomes a faithful answer of a resolved good conscience. Once again at the risk of repeating myself we can not fake a good conscience. It is either genuine, earnest and clean or it is not.
When we get redeemed through the shed blood of the Lamb of God then we should get baptized but this all hinges on the fact that Jesus Christ did raise from the dead on the third day. Baptism is a pledge of salvation. The external participation of baptism only means something special to God if we have a good conscience and conversation (our righteous way of living). If we just talk without the substance of the Holy Spirit working through our spirit we might as well not even get baptized because on the one hand we would be saying this is spiritual but are living in the flesh. If there is not a work of God through His Son Jesus Christ in our every day life then our outward baptism certainly would not be sincere before God and people.
The Apostle Peter then proceeds to speak about the ascension of Jesus Christ sitting at the right hand of His Father. Since Jesus Christ is now in glory after humiliation we as His followers should not despair in any way but in our short distresses continue in our Lord so we will also be advanced to transcendent joy and glory. Once again upon His ascension into heaven Jesus Christ is enthroned at the right hand of the Father. Angels, authorities and powers are all made subject to Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Peter expresses his exhortation in a very specific way because he writes in 1 Peter 4:1 Christ had suffered for us in His flesh or in His human nature. Then Peter challenges us as Christians to arm and fortify ourselves likewise with the same mind. We already know that Jesus Christ suffered but do we make our corrupt nature suffer by putting to death the body of sin through self - denial and mortification. Another words cease from sin.
Peter writes about some of the strongest arguments against all sorts of sin which are taken from the sufferings of Jesus Christ. There are other reasons to abstain from sin but this is where Peter is coming from in this particular context. Some people might here a testimony of someone going to hell and coming back to tell their story. The person on the receiving end often says," I am not messing around with sin after hearing about that experience." I have heard Christians say, "Jesus is just very good to me and I do not desire to sin against Him." I have heard some believers in Christ say I am just dedicated to what the word of God says and want to follow Jesus Christ. Of course there are other examples but Peter took this approach because he was a witness to the horror he saw as they tortured the Son of God and nailed Him to a cross. In fact the Apostle had so much respect for what he witnessed that he insisted they crucify him upside down out of respect for Jesus Christ. Different truths affect different Christians but the end result should be to mortify our flesh so we do not transgress against God. People are quite in tune with what their sins are but the real question is what are we doing about this eternal issue that will destroy the inside of our soul.
Can we truly have sympathy and tenderness for what Jesus Christ went through for us and not put away our own sin? I do not think we can. Remember the beginning of the way we mortify our transgressions is in our minds so we need to be careful what we allow in our thought life. If we engage in this type of purity the body will follow in obedience against sin.
Peter then explains this biblical precept in a deeper way so we can apply this principal to our lives. He explains that a Christian can not live the rest of his or her time in the flesh which is that independent nature that likes to rise up against God and sin. On the contrary we are to conform ourselves to the revealed will of God because He is perfectly holy. We like to transgress against God because it is simply in our fleshly nature to do so which brings me back to the point that we have to make our corrupt nature suffer by putting to death the body of sin by self - denial and mortification.
The lusts of people are the springs of all wickedness. Temptation in and of itself is not a sin and this can not prevail if we do not allow corruption to play out it's course in our hearts. True conversation (righteousness in our hearts) through the redeemed blood of Jesus Christ changes our soul and lives with the countenance of the Holy Spirit working through our spirit. I often see this in Christians that are living in the spirit. Our mind is altered to holiness and our conversation changes with righteous speech. This does not mean we walk around quoting the Bible everywhere we go but a temperance with love comes out of our heart and cumulates in our speech.
In verse three Peter gives the solution on how this principal is enforced. Contrary to popular belief before we got saved through Jesus Christ we did serve Satan through our sin but now we serve the Living God. If we could hear Jesus He might say something to the order of you serve me now. One truth I have noticed is when a person is truly converted he or she is grieved about their past and how it was "Spent." You see we are either investing our lives for eternity in heaven or we are spending our lives and wasting it away in vain which is nothing more than an exercise in futility. God desires us to give Him devotion in love so our lives will be called according to His purpose.
The will of man is completely different than the will of God. It is unsanctified and corrupt. The will of man walks continually in wicked ways. The will of man makes a bad condition worse. One sin besets another and Peter names six that if practiced will devastate our life and send us to destruction. (1) Lasciviousness which can be expressed in looks, gesture or behavior (2) Lusts which are responses of lewdness (3) Excess of wine (4) Revellings especially if they are to frequent, full or expensive (5) Banquetings which is gluttony (6) Abominable idolatry which is idol - worship which is a violation of the first commandment in Exodus chapter twenty. It is our duty as Christians to abstain from that which is grossly evil but that is usually done by abstaining from even the appearance of evil.
As you can see the will of man can only lead to destruction and devastation. The will of God produces love, righteousness and a divine purpose for our lives which spreads into the wideness of eternity. Obviously the will of man also spreads into the wideness of eternity but the end will be destruction. Armed with this knowledge it is a wise decision to accept Jesus Christ into your heart as your very own personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son of God in your life. Where there is sin there is hardship because that is a basic principal in Scripture. This decision through your daily obedience to God and the precepts of the Bible will put you on the right path to not only a relationship with Jesus Christ but sweet fellowship by abstaining from sin and living a holy reverential life to God. A proper fear of God desires more and more of the righteousness of God and a conviction against sin.
God bless you,
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