1 Peter 4:1-2, “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.”
In chapter 3 of 1 Peter, Peter calls his readers to suffer for doing what is right. Though this suffering is often unjust, Peter’s point is the willingness to suffer for persecution for obeying the Lord is pleasing to the Father (1 Peter 3:14, 17). In 1 Peter 4:1-2, Peter picks up this same theme explaining that Christians must be willing to suffer for the will of the Lord. In 1 Peter 4:1-2 Peter develops this theme in a new direction. In previous verses, Peter had an appreciative view of civil authority. Though these authorities do sin, in most cases they only punish evildoers (1 Peter 2:13-14). 1 Peter 4:1-2 doesn’t deny this, but it reminds readers that the civil authority and the general population will sometimes persecute those who do not do evil but rather obey the will of the Lord.
1 Peter 4:1 calls Christians to look to Christ as their example in suffering. As the Second Adam, Jesus had to break decisively with sin for the sake of His people. 1 Peter 4:1-2 tells readers that by suffering for the will of God, Jesus made this break with sin. Jesus perfectly stood firm in the face of temptation because He was utterly sinless and blameless before the Lord. Jesus refused to give in to temptation when tempted by Satan to sin and reject the Lordship of His Heavenly Father (Matthew 4:1-11). Instead of abandoning the Cross, Jesus went to the Cross, fulfilling the will of God that He would die to save His people (Matthew 27:41-50). Rather than disobey His heavenly Father, the Lord Jesus willingly suffered at the hands of civil authority for sinners that they might have eternal life through His finished and sufficient work.
As Christians today, we must be willing to do the will of God no matter the cost, including suffering at the hands of civil authority and society than disobey the Lord to avoid pain. We will only completely cease from sin when we are glorified and enter into glory. If by faith, as Christians, we are in union with Christ and have partaken of His death through the Holy Spirit, then we, as God’s people have partaken of the resurrection glory and are enabled to do the will of God through the Holy Spirit, no matter what life brings.
Peter here in this passage is not teaching that sinless perfection is possible in this life. Until Christians are glorified, we will still have indwelling sin which is why we have an ongoing need for repentance and the grace of grace in the Christian life. John Calvin states that when we are united to Christ, “we are really and effectually supplied with invincible weapons to subdue the flesh.” Since that is true, make every effort today by the grace of God to arm yourself with Christ’s manner of thinking in the Scriptures that you may be willing to suffer for Jesus than do evil.