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1 Peter 4:1 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same way of thinking, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
In this verse, the apostle Peter is encouraging believers to follow the example of Jesus, who suffered physically on the cross for our sins. Peter is saying that by suffering in our own bodies, we can become more like Jesus and be done with sin. This does not mean that suffering in and of itself is a way to atone for sin or to earn salvation, but rather that suffering can help us to grow in holiness and become more like Jesus as we follow his example of self-denial and sacrifice. Peter is urging believers to embrace an attitude of self-denial and to be willing to suffer for the sake of righteousness and to further the cause of the gospel.
Again, it should be reiterated that the idea here is not that suffering in and of itself is a way to overcome sin, but rather that suffering can be a way to draw closer to God and to grow in holiness. By embracing suffering and enduring it with the right attitude, believers can learn to trust in God and to rely on him for strength and grace. Ultimately, this can lead to a deeper understanding of God’s love and a greater ability to live a life that is pleasing to him.
Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh. Since he, as a man, has died for us. See 2 Peter 3:18. The design was to set the suffering Redeemer before them as an example in their trials.
Arm yourselves also with the same way of thinking. 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 armor, and having this is represented as being armed. Armor is put on for offensive or defensive purposes in war. 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 armor in engaging in the conflicts and strife which pertain to us as Christians and especially in meeting with persecutions and trials. We are to put on the same fortitude that the Lord Jesus had, and this will be the best defense against our foes and the best security of victory.
Because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. Comp. Notes, Rom. 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 Notes, Gal. 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 Tim. 2:11; Col. 2:20; 3:3.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews