Reading: 1 Peter 4-5
Summary: Further instruction and encouragement are here given by Peter in regard to a Christian’s suffering according to the will of God.
Peter concludes this first letter with instructions to shepherds of God’s flock and some final encouragement to Christians to recognize that they are the objects of Satan’s efforts.
Christians are familiar with the famous Christian armor (Eph. 6:10,13). Without such, we will be unable to stand against Satan’s attacks. The importance of taking on the “whole armor” (panoply, as one of our great hymns says) cannot be overstressed. Truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation and the word of God are absolutely indispensable.
But there’s more.
Peter says it’s critical to “arm” ourselves with the right attitude. “Arm yourselves with the same way of thinking” (1 Pet. 4:1). What is that way? The way of Jesus that led him to be willing to suffer in the flesh. It’s the way of thinking that lives life “no longer for human passions but for the will of God” (v. 2).
When we are so mentally armed, the desire to avoid harm and hurt—which is a powerful personal attitude for self-preservation—is subjected to God’s own will. That means we, like Jesus, will be willing to endure suffering and persecution for His sake.
And that is why the one who “has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” (v. 1). Not that we live in sinless perfection, but that our whole emphasis is God’s will over our own passions and desires.
So, for the well-armed Christian, it’s both the panoply of God and the thinking of Jesus.