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Friday, December 27, 2013

1 Peter 4 The Crucified Mindset



1 Peter 4:1-2 "Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God."

Introduction: The crucified mindset taught by Jesus
Jesus taught his disciples in Luke 9:23-24 "And He was saying to them all, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it."  This statement was Jesus' to call his disciples to exercise reckless abandonment of reliance upon the self and to complete reliance upon Him. 1  This mindset being taught by Jesus is what we can term "the crucified mindset". 

The crucified mindset commanded by the Apostle Paul
As one moves deeper into the New Testament, the crucified mindset and its radical call to radical followership of Jesus Christ is reinforced by the Apostle Paul. In fact to conceive of Christianity apart from the cross leads to an utter departure from what it means to be a Christian. 

Paul writes for example in Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 up for me." Paul's identification with the event of Christ's crucifixion is due to the fact that supernaturally and spiritually the Holy Spirit connected him to that event in saving faith and maintains that connection in his ongoing sanctification.2 Furthermore, the crucified mindset determines to regard the self (self sufficiency, self-reliance, etc) as dead, focus on Christ instead and thus move on ahead. 

In another passage Paul writes in Galatians 6:14 "But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."  Again Paul is stating the crucified mindset as it pertains to relating to the world or system of unbelief.  The self is the Christian's number one enemy as it pertains to the internal Christian life, and the world in turn is the Christian's chief opposition to the external Christian life.  Satan is the spiritual agent that drives the world system. (2 Corinthians 4:1-6) 

And so the crucified mindset refers to a radical resolve to follow Jesus, to die to self and die to the world in favor of singular focus on Jesus Christ. Not only is the crucified mindset defined, but also commanded. We will now turn to 1 Peter 4 to see how this mindset is explained and applied.

Peter explains the crucified mindset in relationship to the Christian's approach to their past, present and future
1 Peter 4 unfolds in detail how the crucified mindset is to be applied to the daily Christian life.  Peter writes in 1 Peter 4:1 "Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin." Peter's words here are a call to war against sin and against the flesh.  As you read on down through 1 Peter 4, the crucified mindset is the Christian's approach to how they view their past, their future and their present. Certainly retaining a mindset like Jesus is commanded elsewhere in the New Testament. (Philippians 2:1-5). So the question is: how does the crucified mindset aid the Christian in understanding their past, future and present?

1. Die to the past  1 Peter 4:1-6
Peter states in 1 Peter 4:2 "so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God."

2. Define life by Jesus' second coming. 4:7-11
1 Peter 4:7-8 sets the tone for this section - "The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins."

3. Depend on the Lord now. 4:12-19
1 Peter 4:12 and 4:19 reinforce the need to apply the crucified mindset as a constant, current reality.  1 Peter 4:12 "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you." Then 1 Peter 4:19 states: "Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right." 

Conclusion:
I close out today's post with this observation from the great commentator Albert Barnes on applying the crucified mindset to everyday life: "Armor is put on for offensive or defensive purposes of war; and 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 strifes which pertain to us as Christians, and especially in meeting with persecutions and trials. We are to put on the same fortitude which the Lord Jesus had, and this will be our best defense against our foes, and the best security of victory."3



Endnotes:
1. In the years before Jesus' public ministry there had been various men who would rise up in the regions of Galilee claiming to be the Messiah - among whom was one by the name of Judas the Galilean.  When Judas the Galilean made his claim, he convinced 2,000 other fellow Galileans to follow him and lead a revolt against the Roman empire.  Rome of course responded swiftly and had crosses erected along the roadsides of Galilee to send the message that if anyone followed a leader claiming to be Messiah or revolutionary against Rome - their fate would be the same as Judas the Galilean and his followers.  What Jesus was calling for would had been radical indeed, and the disciples would had been taken back to the days of Judas. 

2. All that Christ did and is in His humanity becomes mine in salvation.  The position of being declared "the righteousness of Jesus Christ" in salvation is what we call justification, and the power and person of Christ granted to us in justification is a result of the Spirit's baptism or uniting us to Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13) In saving faith I not only am granted the position of Christ's righteousness, but I am also granted the Person of Christ.  I have access to both His person and power, and He in turn is supernaturally united to me in fellowship.  Such a relationship and partaking of the Divine nature of Christ's person (2 Peter 1:3-4), as well as the human nature of Christ's person (Hebrews 2:11-14) is what the older Christians came to term "theosis". 

3. Albert Barnes. Notes on the New Testament. Kregel Publications. 1962. Page 1427

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