“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit…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, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does." 1 Peter 3:18, 4:1-6
1. Christ’s suffering for us was both a pardon and a pattern.
Peter has no problem speaking of these in the same breath.
"For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:21-24
The pardon empowers a new priority.
“The cross is laid on every Christian. The first Christ-suffering which every man must experience is the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death—we give over our lives to death. Thus it begins; the cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
3. The past has potent pull.
“‘Then you'd better pace yourself,’ he says. ‘Okay, no more than one bite of each dish,’ I say.
My resolve is almost immediately broken at the first table, which has twenty or so soups, when I encounter a creamy pumpkin brew sprinkled with slivered nuts and tiny black seeds. ‘I could just eat this all night!’ I exclaim. But I don't. I weaken again at a clear green broth that I can only describe as tasting like springtime, and again when I try a frothy pink soup dotted with raspberries.” Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire
A Potential Practice: What is the will of God, after all?
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27
1. How do we think about the pleasures of this life in light of this passage (see 1 Corinthians 6:12, 1 Timothy 4:1-5)?
What are your weekends for? How can they be brought under the umbrella of “no longer for human passions but for the will of God”?
3. What reservations do you have with fostering or adopting a child? If that is not in the realm of possibility, how can you “visit orphans and widows in their affliction”?