“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.”
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us
The “therefore” resumes the idea of 3:18 that Jesus suffered unjustly (1:11; 2:24; 4:13; 5:1). Jesus suffered undeservedly. He did not earn or deserve suffering. In 3:18, Jesus took up the cross and died for our sins. He was made sin and judged for us. He became our substitute and he is therefore the only way of salvation.
Peter now draws a new inference for Christians to deal decisively with sin. The phrase “arm yourselves with the same mind” indicates the impact that Jesus’ suffering should make on us. Since he dealt decisively with sin on the cross, we should do the same. Since we are dead to sin positionally, we are free from the controlling power of sin.
in the flesh
Christ suffered in the “flesh” or body. As God, Jesus did not die. Eternal life cannot cease to exist. Jesus, therefore, did not die in his deity. That is why he became true humanity. As true humanity he died with a human body. With that body he lived a life free from personal sin and died with that body. It was as man that he suffered undeservedly. However, it was the second person of the trinity who went to the cross.
If we are dead to sin we are free from sin.
Christ suffered for us in his physical body. The child of God should hate sin because it took Jesus to the cross. Sin causes decay, degeneration, violence, corruption, disease and death. These things are the by-products of sin.
There are two reasons Christians suffer:
1. For sin
2. Undeserved suffering
God designs blessing for us for both reasons. If we sin, God brings discipline into our lives. His design for discipline is for restoration, not punishment. Jesus has already taken the punishment for our sin so God does not punish us for our sin. If we confess our sin, God converts discipline into blessing. Any suffering that comes our way under confession of sin is undeserved suffering.
God designs discipline for our blessing. Whether we enjoy God’s blessing for our lives depends on our acceptance of God’s correction by faith. By faith we confess our sin and enter God’s blessing. This means we believe that Jesus took the punishment for the sin we commit as Christians.
God blesses us in undeserved suffering as well. This is a major argument of I Peter.