1 Peter – Chapter Four II

by Ed Urzi

“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” (1 Peter 4:1 ESV).

Before we move forward in our study of 1 Peter chapter four, we should note what the latter portion of this verse says, as well as what it fails to mention.

For example, we can interpret this reference to “whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” in the following manner: when we arm ourselves with Jesus’ attitude towards suffering, we offer proof to show that we have renounced sin. Therefore, those who prayerfully seek to adopt Jesus’ mindset are done (NIV) or finished (CEB) with sin in this sense.

However, this does not mean that we will achieve a life of sinless perfection if we “arm [ourselves] with the same way of thinking.” For instance, the Scriptures tell us that it is impossible to live a sin-free life. The Biblical book 1 John offers one such example: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8 KJV).

In addition, the book of Romans tells us, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV). The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes acknowledges this reality as well: “There is no one on earth who does what is right all the time and never makes a mistake” (Ecclesiastes 7:20 GNB).

So, while it is impossible to live sinlessly, the lifestyle of a professing Christian should not be characterized by a recurring pattern of sinful behavior. A person who claims to follow Christ but lives in a manner that is inconsistent with that claim is someone who should consider the message of 1 John 3:6: “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him” (NIV).

The following commentators offer a quick succession of insights that can help us apply this reference to those who have “ceased from sin“…

“The world directs its persecution against those who are living lives of obedience to God, thus those who have ceased from sin.” (1)

“When a believer deliberately chooses to suffer persecution as a Christian rather than to continue in a life of sin, he has ceased from sin.” (2)

“…[this] passage speaks of believers’ desire not to sin because of their real identification with Christ, which gives them power and motivation not to sin.” (1)

(1) Kenneth S. Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament [1 Peter 4:1-11] Copyright © 1942-55 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

(2) William Macdonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary Edited by Arthur Farstad, Thomas Nelson Publishers [1 Peter 4:1]

(3) R. C. Sproul, ed., The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015), 2248.