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Gene’s Daily Scriptural Postings

1 Peter 4:1-3

(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 Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

King James Version

What weapon does he say we possess to fight this evil? We have the mind of Christ. Paul fought against disunity at Corinth and came to the same conclusion (see I Corinthians 2:16). We have access to the same Mind that prepared for and resisted the temptations of Satan the Devil for forty days. It is ours to access, if we only will.

As Peter says plainly in I Peter 4:1, if we truly arm ourselves with such a mind, we will cease sinning. We will be applying it to our situations and resisting the motivations of the evil within us. We will not let that evil emerge. If we have and use the mind of Christ, we are taking the fight to the enemy. We are not just allowing evil to pull us around by the nose but taking the offensive to confront it and overcome it.

We must ask ourselves, then, if we have truly committed ourselves to the task of recognizing and fighting the evil within us. Peter says we "should no longer live the rest of [our] time in the flesh." To put it another way, are we committed to stamping out our carnal natures? More positively, have we committed ourselves to live the life of Christ, to do the will of God? Or are we still reserving the right to "enjoy" evil on occasion? Each person has to answer for himself.

If we are not already, it is time to begin evaluating ourselves, trying to plumb the depths of our wicked hearts. We must begin seeing the evil and eradicating it, committing ourselves not to repeat the evils we have done. In Hebrews 12:1, Paul says that we need to "lay aside every weight" that besets us, that holds us back. Throw it off! It is crunch time!

In this vein, Peter provides us with two major pieces of counsel. First, in I Peter 4:7, he writes, "But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers." With this, he attempts to rouse us with hard, cold reality. We do not have time to indulge our desires and lusts! The return of Christ—the terminus of our period of judgment—is upon us! Besides, we could take a walk and be hit by a bus. Is our current spiritual state what we want to hand in for our final grade? It can be that close! Why do we dilly-dally about this? It is time to get serious!

His second piece of advice appears in I Peter 4:19: "Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator." In verses 17-18, the apostle had warned that we will be "scarcely" saved—by the skin of our teeth, as it were. It will happen not because of any righteousness we possess but because of God's grace. Remember, He sees our "desperately wicked" hearts; He knows how depraved we are even still. We must understand this—and be thankful—but it should also motivate us to make the utmost effort to please Him. Our righteousness will never be good enough for salvation, but because the gracious, righteous Judge is watching and evaluating what we do, we are bound to strive to cooperate with Him in being transformed into His image. Thus, Peter says that we must dedicate our lives to doing good. We know that God is faithful and will save us despite ourselves, but we still must show Him that we are serious about living His way of life.

As Christians, we are engaged in a two-pronged maneuver: destroy the evil within ourselves and replace it with acts of goodness. This assault begins with the realization that evil remains in us, but through God's intervention in our lives, there is also in us a germ of good that is ready to grow. With His continued help, we can nurture it to eternal life.

— Richard T. Ritenbaugh

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