Arm Yourselves!

Arm Yourselves

“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, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”

I Peter‬ 4‬:1‬-6‬ NKJV‬‬

Interestingly enough, Peter’s purpose in writing this letter was to provide hope with an eternal perspective to the church on their earthly lives and to give practical advice to those who were beginning to experience a fiery trial of sufferings as Christians in a pagan environment. Peter was concerned that they should not provoke government structures unnecessarily and that they should follow Jesus’ example of suffering innocently, righteously and nobly. Sounds a lot like today’s culture.

Arm yourselves likewise with the same mind – the same mind that Christ had – a readiness to suffer and die as He had done. This readiness to suffer and die, the apostle speaks of as our armor, and having this same mind is represented as being armed. Armor is put on for offensive or defensive purposes in war; it was the metal coverings formerly worn by soldiers or warriors to protect the body in battle. If I asked “Are you armed?” it would imply I am asking if you are carrying. “to arm” yourself in today’s society would be to make sure you have a gun on your person to defend yourself against any attacks. Some of you won’t leave the house without your gun, but you are not armed with the same mind of Christ.

We are to be armed with the mind of having died with Christ, when engaging in the conflicts and strife which pertain to us as Christians, and especially in the temptations of the flesh that can lead to sin. This mind set is the best defense against our enemy, and the best security of victory.

For he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin –

Romans 6:6-7 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be [a]done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been [b]freed from sin.

It has been said that “when a man is dead, he will sin no more;” So if a Christian becomes dead in a moral and spiritual sense – dead to this world, dead by being crucified with Christ, he may be expected to cease from sin. 

Galatians 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

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. This is CENTRAL to Christianity- you must be born again. You must die to your old man and be raised a new man in Christ who does not walk according to our sinful nature, or according to the ways of the world; but according to the righteous nature of Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:11 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.

Colossians 2:20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—

Colossians 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; strengthen and fortify yourselves against all temptation and the lusts of your flesh. Peter gives us the power to overcoming our sinful nature: it is to arm ourselves with the mindset that we are dead to sin and alive only in Him. Christ who in His death not only aimed at the pardon of our sins, but the complete destruction of sin and the renovation of our human nature.

1 John 3:4-9  Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

arm yourselves with the same mindof dying with Christ in the mortification of all sin,  as Christ died, and suffered in the flesh, so we must die to sin and crucify our flesh, with its affections and lusts,

Galatians 5:24  And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

The Hebrew Christians were told that they were at the point of letting things slip and falling away from Christ and back into their old lives. They did not arm themselves with this same mindset.

“You have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, nor have you yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out your [own] blood.” Hebrews‬ 12‬:4‬ AMPC‬‬

There is a bloody battle to destroy sin, and it is unto death. A dead man does not have a problem with sin because a dead man has no demands or plans of his own. Hear this again: a dead man has NO demands.

Do you know why so many Christians devour one another? Because they are dead men who have resurrected their dead bodies themselves- these are what’s known as zombies and they eat human flesh. They are fleshly and selfish Christians who say things like, I can do what I want to do. I can give what I want. I can go to church when I want. I can serve when I want. I can sin when I want. And they devour other Christians, take advantage of them and church hop as if the church is a restaurant that has to serve them what they want, when they want and how they want to be served. If this is you, you are a zombie.

God’s Word declares that WE were all these things, but now we are a new creation in Jesus. We are not resurrected dead men, we are a new creation. Arm yourselves with this mindset.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11  Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]homosexuals, nor [b]sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were [c]sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

WERE. Past tense. It means something had happened in the past, and now it does not happen anymore. 

Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

An often overlooked word  “were.” Though a small and insignificant word in terms of length, it nonetheless carries great importance for the one who professes to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I say that because the word “were” denotes a past-tense state of being—a permanently past-tense state. 

That small, four-letter word “were” serves as a line of demarcation in the life of the believer in Christ. It is saying that there occurred a point in time when, by the grace of God, you were rescued from what Scripture describes as the ‘kingdom of darkness’ to the “kingdom of light.” Think about it. A person who has been rescued from their captivity to something does not return again to that from which they were previously rescued, do they? To do so would be to exhibit the very definition of insanity.

IF you are STILL doing the same, acting the same as the day you claim Christ, then I question the reality of your conversion. Peter tells us, We have spent enough of our lives living for the world. Do you live for the Will of God or will of yourself? I will tell you, give me a Christian that lived a horrible life in the flesh and understands grace, forgiveness and the power of God to make someone into a new creation. They know their sin. It is not foreign to them. They are more than excited to be transformed and live for God. I know my life was a path of destruction. I want nothing to do with my own ways.

But what I have noticed most often is the Christians who are raised in a Christian home are self-righteous and full of pride. They are happy to live in the world and live in the kingdom. And because of the false love gospel, they do not have an understanding of their sinful nature. They have been taught that they can live for themselves and live for Christ.

Peter says to not live for the world, but to the will of God; the holy will of God revealed to us in his law, (which is the rule by which we are to walk), and it is in stark opposition to the lusts of men; we are to live not as men would have us, but as God commands us.

Don’t be lukewarm. Just go live in the world and stop playing around with Christ and His Body. You want to go party. Then go full on. Stop dabbling and just give yourself over. You want to hold a grudge and be unforgiving, bitter, jealous and greedy? You want the world’s success? Then just dive in and quit riding the fence. Either cleanse yourselves of all this— or go full on in, either give yourself fully to your selfish nature or give yourself fully to the Spirit and stop being double-minded.

James 4:7-8 “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” 

“Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” II Corinthians‬ 6‬:17‬-18‬ NKJV‬‬

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” II Corinthians‬ 7‬:1‬ NKJV‬‬

A person with divided loyalty is not completely convinced that God’s way is best. He treats God’s Word like any human advice and retains the option to disobey. He vacillates between allegiance to subjective feelings, the world’s ideas, and God’s commands. You cannot be loyal to yourself and your selfish nature and loyal to God at the same time. Do you know what the Pre-K kids say to my daughter when she tells them to do something? “I don’t want to”. Is this your response? It is selfish and godless. Your loyalty is to yourself

The world thinks it strange that you don’t do the same things anymore. The reasons why they esteem this so strange, are something like the following: “they”=the world

(1) They do not appreciate the motives which influence those of us who leave them. They feel that it is good to enjoy the world, and to make life fun, and they do not understand what it is to act under a deep sense of responsibility to God, and with reference to eternity. They live for themselves. They seek happiness as the end and aim of life. They do not understand why we do not make light of our salvation and the commands to obey God.

2) they do not yet see the guilt and foolishness of sinful pleasures. They are not convinced of the deep evil of the human heart, and they think it strange that we should abandon a course of life which seems to them so innocent. They do not see why we who have been so long accustomed to these sinful indulgences should have changed our minds, and why we now regard those things as sinful which we once considered to be harmless.

(3) they do not see the argument for obeying Christ. Not having the views of the importance of truth and duty which we now have, they wonder that we should break off from the course of life which we formerly pursued, and separate ourselves from evil company. Therefore, they sometimes regard the conduct of Christians as weakness; sometimes as superstition; sometimes as sheer foolishness; sometimes as madness; and sometimes as anger and a hatred for others. In all respects they esteem us strange.

I remember very clearly coming out of the world and how my friends said most of the above about me. I was stupid and foolish. I was a religious zealot sucked into a cult. I was judgmental and snobbish because I would not party, go to bars or drink with them anymore. I had found “religion” and that it would not last. They most definitely thought it strange what had happened to me and could not fathom why I was so different. I armed myself with this mindset- I was dead to sin and I got radical with my flesh. I threw out music, clothes and stopped watching TV. I prayed for hours on end, I joined the choir, I went to church every time the doors were opened. I served. I tithed. I gave. And all my old friends thought I was strange. To this day, anytime my old nature, and not just those outward things of drinking, drugs, etc. I am so far removed from those things; but my old way of thinking, my old habits try to pop up I remember that I crucified that old Crystal. She is dead and I buried her in the waters of baptism in a little church in San Antonio TX. I am not her anymore. Arm yourselves with this same mind. IT is your greatest defense against the enemy of your soul.

I think most don’t get radical enough with sin. You cannot fall into the Grand Canyon from Texas. I read this book: 1000 ways to die in the Grand Canyon. Do you know why people have died in the Grand Canyon? Because they were foolish and did everything they were told to not do. They went on hikes without water. They sat on the rim, going across the boundaries. They drove their car into the canyon. You have to arm yourself with the mind of Christ- I am dead to sin and alive in Him. SO when temptation comes, you remind yourself- “Mistaken identity”. Why are you going to parties and events that are  surrounded by drinking? Why do you go to concerts that put demonic lyrics in your head? Why do you hang out with people who talk bad about your pastor and your church? Stop hanging out with slanderous people. They are sowing seeds of division. You better start getting radical with sin and arm yourselves with the mindset that you are dead to the old man.

They will give an account.

Who shall give account.—there is a reference to 1Peter 3:15, 

1 Peter 3:15  But [a]sanctify [b]the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

the Christians here are to give “account” (the Greek word is the same). Yet, the other purpose of this clause is to warn the readers against sharing the fate of these scoffers by sharing their sins. It is a metaphor taken from stewards giving an account to their master. According to Jesus, we will give an account to Him and either hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant” or to those who did all these things in His name and HE says, “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”. (those who still live in their sin and rebellion, but claim to know Him)

Romans 11:22  Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, [a]goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

Theologian J. I. Packer says, “Christians… are not to dwell on God’s goodness alone, nor on His severity alone, but to contemplate both together.” You will never understand God if you think only on his goodness. You must know the nature and character of God, which is displayed throughout Genesis to Revelation; otherwise you will be deceived.

Lastly, Peter says, for our own comfort, that though our enemies and scoffers might outlive us, yet they shall not escape God’s judgment. WE can be sure that God knows how to deliver and save the righteous and preserve the wicked for the day of judgment. Those who speak evil of us and seek to harm us, will have to answer to God for their rebellion and destruction. Not one thing escapes His watchful eye. Do not worry if they call you “strange”; keep yourselves armed with the mind of Christ, you are dead to sin and alive in Him.

2 Peter 2:9  then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,

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