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THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF PETER - Chapter 4 - Verse 1
I PETER CHAPTER IV.
ANALYSIS OF THE CHAPTER.
THIS chapter relates principally to the manner in which those to whom the apostle wrote ought to bear their trials, and to the encouragements to a holy life, notwithstanding their persecutions. He had commenced the subject in the preceding chapter, and had referred them particularly to the example of the Saviour. His great solicitude was, that if they suffered, it should not be for crime, and that their enemies should not be able to bring any well-founded accusation against them. He would have them pure and harmless, patient and submissive; faithful in the performance of their duties, and confidently looking forward to the time when they should be delivered. He exhorts them, therefore, to the following things:
(a.) To arm themselves with the same mind that was in Christ; to consider that the past time of their lives was enough for them to have wrought the will of the flesh, and that now it was their duty to be separate from the wicked world, in whatever light the world might regard their conduct —remembering that they who calumniated them must soon give account to God, 1 Pe 4:1-6.
(b.) He reminds them that the end of all things was at hand, and that it became them to be sober, and watch unto prayer, 1 Pe 4:7.
(e.) He tells them not to think it strange that they were called to pass through fiery trials, nor to suppose that any unusual thing had happened to them; reminds them that they only partook of Christ's sufferings, and that it was to be regarded as a favour if any one suffered as a Christian; and presses upon them the thought that they ought to be careful that none of them suffered for crime, 1 Pe 4:12-16.
(f.) He reminds them that the righteous would be saved with difficulty, and that the wicked would certainly be destroyed; and exhorts them, therefore, to commit the keeping of their souls to a faithful Creator, 1 Pe 4:18,19.
The design was to set the suffering Redeemer before them as an example in their trials.
Arm yourselves likewise with the same mind. That is, evidently, the same mind that he evinced—a readiness to suffer in the cause of religion, a readiness to die as he had done. This readiness to suffer and die, the apostle speaks of as armour, and having this is represented as being armed. Armour is put on for offensive or defensive purposes in war; and the idea of the apostle here is, that that state of mind when we are ready to meet with persecution and trial, and when we are ready to die, will answer the purpose of armour in engaging in the conflicts and strifes which pertain to us as Christians, and especially in meeting with persecutions and trials. We are to put on the same fortitude which the Lord Jesus had, and this will be the best defence against our foes, and the best security of victory.
For he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin. Comp. Ro 6:7. To "suffer in the flesh" is to die. The expression here has a proverbial aspect, and seems to have meant something like this: "when a man is dead, he will sin no more;" referring of course to the present life. So if a Christian becomes dead in a moral sense—dead to this world, dead by being crucified with Christ (See Barnes "Ga 2:20") —he may be expected to cease from sin. The reasoning is based on the idea that there is such a union between Christ and the believer that his death on the cross secured the death of the believer to the world. Comp. 2 Ti 2:11; Col 2:20; 3:3.
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