The Expository Files

 

Sin – Are you done with it yet?

1 Peter 4:1-5




[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.
(1 Peter 4:1-5 ESV)

Three things are connected together in this passage: Christ’s suffering, His attitude against sin and our attitude against sin. A study of this passage, a sound linking of these things taken to heart, can help build our resistance against sin.

Christ’s Suffering

We know already Christ died for the unjust to redeem sinners. That historical truth of divinely provided atonement is the subject of the previous paragraph (see 1 Pet. 3:18-22).

Here in chapter four, however, there is another dimension of Christ’s suffering under consideration. The immediate, earthly cause of His suffering was – His refusal to sin. Jesus was determined to do His Father’s work. And this determination was to do it consistently; in fact, He never sinned (see 1 Pet. 2:22). Jesus would not sin. He would not strike any compromise with the doctrines, vain traditions or religious empires of men. He said “no” to the Devil.

So He suffered in consequence of His steadfast obedience to God. He would not sin, and suffered the earthly consequences of that kind of living. That’s the focus. “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.” (1 Peter 4:1, NIV).

We have a modern expression we use today, saying to people – I’m done with that! We may be talking about a habit, a piece of equipment, a project, an experience . . . and we have made a discovery - - we have learned something; we don’t like something . . . So we express ourselves by saying, I’m done with that! Or, “so much for that!” Christian, are you done with sin?

Peter is telling us, this should be our attitude toward sin and it should be so intense, even if we have to suffer, our determination remains: I’M DONE WITH SIN! Jesus didn’t ever start. His refusal to sin took Him to places of pain and suffering. It hurt but still His attitude was: “I will not sin.” And that should be our deep seated will against sin.

Once I arm myself with this determination not to sin, I must determine to hold to this “the rest of my life!” It says, “…so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” Another rendering of the verse: “As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly live for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God,” (NIV).

I’m afraid some people want to have a religious experience or conversion experience, then live the rest of their lives the way everybody else lives. They want to have some experience or event they can point back to but they have never made a decision to cease from sin. Bro. Robert Turner wrote a poem about this a number of years ago - called, “I’ve been baptized!”

There are folks like this who do not want to make a life commitment; they are not too interested in making changes; they don’t seem to have much interests in worship or Bible Study, but they’ve got that event they rest on: “I’ve been baptized!” Or “I was born again,” or “I got baptized.”

We are called to higher things! The gospel calls for nothing less than a decision that we will no longer live the rest of our lives in sin, or even flirting with it! Once forgiven by Christ’s death, we are ready to arm ourselves with His determination to not sin.

Let every Christian remember that initial commitment to cease from sin, not willing to spend any more time in disobedience to the will of God.

How will you spend the rest of your life? In the will or desires of the flesh (like most people), or engaged in the will of God. It is one or the other.

“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.” As a result, he does not live the rest
of his earthly live for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” New King James.

Verse 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.

Put into very common language, Peter seems to be telling us – with regard to all the sins and excesses of the flesh – Enough of that! With that touch of irony Peter is telling us – time has already been lost. Redeemed people ought to focus on re-deeming the time, giving themselves over to the will of God from baptism until death.

Isn’t it interesting how passages like this in the Bible, flow from the general warning to the specific sins!

Sensuality in the English Standard Version is – in other English translations – Licentiousness, Lasciviousness or (NIV) Debauchery. This is about people who, under the delusion that they are free to do anything accomplish nothing of moral good. They think they are free, but are actually living in bondage to the flesh and service to the devil. In the King James the word is lasciviousness, and Vines tells us: “denotes excesses, licentiousness, absence of restraint, indecency, wantonness,” and then Thayer goes into more detail: "Unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence ... Indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females." Does that sound like
anything that you ever see? Are people engaged in these lifestyles really free? They consider themselves free to do anything, but in reality they accomplish no moral good. And, they set themselves in a very dark direction eternally.

Peter says, “enough of that.”

Passions in the ESV is lusts or evil human desire, which, if acted upon and is not defeated, leads to more corruption and alienation from God. Earlier Peter warned of this – in 1 Pet. 2:11 ? “...abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”

Have you ever seen something and from the standpoint of intellect and knowledge, you knew it is wrong ... but honestly, you wanted to do it. It looked like it would be fun or fulfilling on some level. And the more you looked at it, the stronger the pull to get you in the middle. Pornography is perfectly designed by the devil to lead men off in the wrong direction, playing on their desire or lusts. We must make early decisions that we will not let desire become the fire that burns us up.

Drunkenness is the sin of deliberate recreational intoxication which is a work of the flesh (see Gal. 5:21). “…be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit,” (Eph. 5:18). “Let us walk becomingly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and jealousy,” (Rom. 13:13). But Peter doesn’t stop with drunkenness. Peter isn’t finished with intoxication. Keep reading.


Orgies is a term we associate with parties that center around activities that promote looseness and impurity. And many would reason something like this: Well, now I’m not going to get drunk ... I understand that ... I’m just going to attend the party!!

I know there are a lot of folks who just don’t like this - but Peter doesn’t even want us to attend the party where excess and lasciviousness and drinking is the purpose! In the NIV, Peter says -- “For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do - living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, and orgies ...” Remember? Enough of that.

Some parties have a social purpose; some parties are just fun and entertaining, and are wholesome. But some parties have a sinful, indulgent purpose and they revolve around things Christians cannot participate in. Why would we even want to attend such an event? You know what a hangover is? --- A hangover is something that afflicts a head that wasn't used the night before.

Then Peter gets even more specific:

Drinking parties are gathering that have one primary purpose: to enjoy the effects of alcohol with others, sometimes called “the cocktail party” or “social drinking.” I realize definitions by themselves don’t convert people. But when reading the Bible and defining the words, we are understanding what God has communicated. Speaking of this Greek word (POTOS), Meyers says: “the drinking of intoxicants, without reference to the amount consumed.” Remember this is all in the context of behaviors associated with “the Gentiles” or pagans (for us, the world), that Christians determine to avoid the rest of their lives.

Lawless idolatry is next. All idolatry is lawless but this wording places stress on the lawlessness or detestable nature of the practice. Frequently - in the pagan culture of the first century - there was not only polytheism and idolatry ... but mixed in with it, immorality.

The typical pagan idea of a good time was, to be involved in some sort of idol worship or ritual. But to combine that with a mixture of lustful excess. Drinking might be combined with sexual activity, all in the setting of idol worship. Sort of like church services in the middle of Spring Break at the beach.

Peter describes these common sins of the Gentile culture (alienated from God) and his point is enough of that. Arm yourselves with the mind of Christ, refusing to sin even if it means pain, suffering and ridicule.

Peter understands – as we shun these practices – we may be shunned. Your friends and associates you ran around with before your baptism may think you are pretty strange; they will be surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation ... and they may blaspheme and ridicule and heap all kinds of abuse on you.

This is to be expected: “They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.” “But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”

They (those opposed to righteousness) will give account with shame. We can expect to give account with boldness, provided we arm ourselves with the mind of Christ against sin. Because of Him, we can be done with sin.
 

By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 18.1; January 2011

 

 

 

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