Let’s read verses 1-2: “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the love of God” (NKJV). The word “therefore” takes us back to the last chapter where we are taught that believers should be willing to “suffer for righteous sake.” In fact, 3:14 states “If you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, YOU ARE BLESSED.” To suffer for “doing what is right” will cause men to hate us and persecute, yet when they do we are blessed because we’re following in the footsteps of our blessed Savior. 1st Peter 2:21 bears this out, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His step.” Christ suffered at the hands of wicked men and we should too.

In verses 1-2 the apostle Peter continues that line of thought. Christ was willing to suffer for us as He made His way to the cross, so we should have the same mind and be willing to suffer. We do have a choice, for we can avoid suffering by living like the ungodly unbelievers all around us. But if we are willing to suffer (by living a righteous life), we will surely be persecuted and it may very well involve BODILY HARM. This is what is meant by “he who has SUFFERED IN THE FLESH.” And then we read something very special, for it goes on to say that the believer who suffers “has ceased from sin.” This simply means that if we are living a righteous life WE WON’T BE SINNING!

Now we come to verse 3 where the apostle Peter reminds us of our life BEFORE our conversion. It says, “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.” In short, Peter is saying, “We already SINNED ENOUGH in our life before trusting in Christ.” Now we should, as those who are a “new creation in Christ” (see 2nd Corinthians 5:17), live a life that is pleasing to God and that glorifies our Lord and Savior who was willing not only to suffer from the hands of men “for righteousness’ sake,” but who also suffered from the Hand of God “for our sins.”

Perhaps you may be thinking, “I was not guilty of the sins mentioned in this verse.” Maybe you didn’t live in the moral corruption that characterized the Gentile world in Peter’s day, but in measure we all lived to gratify the sinful desires of our fallen nature. It may not have been in lewdness (sexual immorality), drunkenness and parties, but it was still a life lived to PLEASE OURSELVES and not Christ. The apostle Paul reminds us of our former life in Ephesian 2:2-3, “You once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also WE ALL once conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, just as the others.” He did the same in Titus 3:3, “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” Again, we have already SINNED ENOUGH. Now we should be more than willing to live righteous lives in order to please our blessed Savior who gave His all for us! (273.1) (DO)