Sin No More – 1 Peter 4
So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols. (1 Peter 4:1-3)
In light of how not finished with sin I am, I had to mull these verses. Especially this one: For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.
I’d like to be finished with sin. I’d like to stop veering off course. I’d like for my relationship with Jesus to snuff out my relationship with the world completely. I’d like to starve my greed. To turn away from my anger and never indulge my quick trigger. To refuse insecurity a foothold. To never give way to fear. Or pride. Or being judgmental. Or covetous.
So what am I missing?
The more I mulled, the more I realized Peter wasn’t claiming to be sinless. I mean, my goodness, this was Peter talking—hot tempered, didn’t think before he spoke, denied Jesus three times, legalistic and had to be chewed out for it by Paul—Peter.
No, Peter wasn’t literally finished with sin until he woke up in heaven.
But he was over it. He was over it. Over chasing empty promises and impotent idols. Over believing that anything or anyone apart from Christ would satisfy. Over trusting his own instincts and relying on his puny supply of goodness and strength. Over being duped by the counterfeit happiness offered by the world. Over his sinful heart that couldn’t please God.
Peter wanted the new life, truth, and hope that was his for the taking each day in Christ, and he was all in. He’d seen outside the Matrix and there was no going back. No time to be bound by sinful flesh, only a battle plan for living in the Spirit.
The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. (1 Peter 4:7-11)
I love when Peter says that loving each other covers a multitude of sin. Because it’s Christ’s love that saves us, redeems us, and continues to redeem us. And it’s our love for one another—via forgiveness, long-suffering, and self-sacrifice—that helps heal the wounds sin leaves behind. It’s love that keeps us motivated, moving forward and maturing in faith.
We’re sinners stuck in sinful bodies that desire sin. No way around that. But we’re redeemed souls, no longer bound to obey to the desires of our flesh. No longer slaves to the world we live in, but slaves to God, free to receive and give love in doses we don’t deserve and couldn’t muster on our own.
And since we’re participants in Christ’s suffering and defeat of sin, and we know how the story ends, we should be eager to do battle against our sin while we’re still here; willing to suffer as Christ did, knowing it flushes out our sin and makes us more like him.
Just like crazy Peter.
(Order Amanda’s book, Confessions of a Raging Perfectionst here.)
Amanda Jenkins spent ten years in L.A. alongside her film-making husband surrounded by plastic surgery and high-falutin lifestyles, which is where she became convicted and inspired to write about her struggle with chasing perfection in all its forms. Amanda attended Northwestern Bible College and graduated with degrees in Communication and Biblical Studies. She has taught Bible studies for women of all ages for the past 14 years, and is passionate about communicating truth in a culturally relevant and funny way. Today, she lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, Dallas, and their four young children, including their recently adopted 6-yr-old son. She is also the daughter-in-law of Jerry B. Jenkins, author of the best-selling Left Behind Series, and drops his name in the publishing world as often as possible. Confessions of a Raging Perfectionist was released in 2013 by Tyndale House Publishers. Amanda blogs at RagingPerfectionist.com.