Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
1 Peter 4:1-2
At the school where I teach, a run a History Society. We meet every Tuesday lunchtime, and at the moment are working our way through The Communist Manifesto. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth the effort, and begin to wonder if I’d rather be enjoying a relaxed lunch with my colleagues. Then, I think about it, however; I have always thought that investing time in extra-curricular activities is important, since it broadens students’ understanding, shapes the way that they think – and is also something that they can enjoy. I’ve therefore made the decision that the best thing is for me to spend time helping my students to get a better idea of the world, and to forego that leisurely lunch break. In the long term it will be so much more worthwhile.
Today’s verse is one that has caused theologians great difficulties over the years; they have pondered and pontificated over who “he who has suffered” refers to; is it to Jesus? To believers? Consequently gallons of ink have been used writing lengthy papers on what this verse means.
I don’t want to dwell on the controversy here, though. I want to pick up on the idea of living for the will of God, which ties in with our current Mark Marathon article. Peter suggests that if we identify with Jesus’ suffering on the cross, we will consciously try to avoid sin. If sin is anathema to God, then by consciously continuing to sin it is almost as if we are throwing Jesus’ sacrifice back in his face as an unwanted gift. Instead, we should turn our back on sin and strive to live a blameless life. If we do that, then our lives will focus not on earthly pleasures that soon end, but doing the will of God; in that way our lives will be infinitely better.
So turn to Christ, repent, try to live a blameless life, and focus on doing God’s will. It might be difficult and you might sometimes ponder whether it is worth it, but it will be so much more worthwhile in the long term.