Peter’s Perspective on a “Death Benefit”
Do you fear death? Do you think of death as something to be avoided at all costs? Though this is often how our culture thinks of it, this attitude is not at all what the believer should have about death. The Bible is full of truth about how death should not be feared by the follower of Jesus Christ. The word of God speaks often and clearly about the “benefit” of death…how death frees us from this world and allows us to enter fully into the glory of our salvation in Jesus Christ. Peter is making a comment on the “death benefit” as it relates to sin. Here is what he writes in 1 Peter 4:1-2: 4 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, 2 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.
I believe that the context of this verse and previous verses indicates that the phrase “suffered in the flesh” refers to death. This is important to understanding this passage and what Peter is trying to teach us. Jesus died and we are told to “arm ourselves also with the same mind”. This means that as Christ was willing to die, we should “arm ourselves” with the very same willingness to die. A weapon, so to speak, in our spiritual arsenal, is a willingness to die. That may sound strange but it is absolutely powerful. In verse 2 Peter reminds his reader that a benefit of death is that when we die we cease from sin. If you’ve ever cried out to God to be delivered from sin, have you ever thought that being ultimately delivered from sin is exactly what happens when we physically die? Now, please don’t misunderstand. Peter is not advocating that believers kill themselves to escape sin. Rather, he is clearly advocating that we arm ourselves with the attitude that even if we suffer unto death, we have not lost. When we maintain an attitude that this world is not our home, we are going to be more ready and willing to suffer for the cause of Jesus Christ. Death, the ultimate price for suffering is still a “benefit” for the follower of Jesus. So, are you taking full advantage of your “death benefit” as you navigate your way through life, especially the troubled waters? Will you “arm yourself” with Jesus’ attitude about death? A right perspective on death helps us greatly to live life.