“Therefore, since Christ has 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” (1 Peter 4: 1–3).
Far too often I see men in the church acting just like those outside the church. We see the sins mentioned above on what seems to be a greater level than ever. Internet pornography, adultery, and drunkenness pervade our churches at levels equal to the world. But we are less troubled by these sins and less concerned with correcting the offenders than we ought to be.
Peter clearly tells us that we are not to look like the world. Because of what Christ has done for us, we not only can be different, but we must be different. Do we believe that we have not spent enough time in the pagan things of the world? For some the answer is yes, and Paul tells us what to do with those who are immoral: “Purge the evil person from among you” (1 Cor. 5:13). Most cases do not require this action, for the true Christian man will confess his sins, or, when he is caught in immorality he will repent and be restored. In other cases there is no repentance. We cannot allow impenitence to exist because the church is called to be holy.
The things that lead us to eternal condemnation are precisely what Christ’s work has saved us from. I desire to live according to the will of God solely because He changed my will. Now, I do not always wish to act like my will has been changed, but it has been, and I am responsible to act accordingly. Peter refers to our past lifetime, but makes it clear that we are now in a new lifetime. We have been born again in the shadow of the cross; we are made new and must look different from the world.
John Calvin said: “The goal of the new life is that God’s children exhibit melody and harmony in their conduct. What melody? The song of God’s justice. What harmony? The harmony between God’s righteousness and our obedience. Only if we walk in the beauty of God’s law do we become sure of our adoption as children of the Father.”