1 Peter 4:1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), 2 so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God.
Peter is addressing Christians who are suffering for their faith. And so he reminds his readers that Christ suffered for the sake of us all, therefore Christians should be prepared to suffer as well. I expect some believers were tempted to abandon their faith to ease their suffering (completely understandable), which Peter describes as succumbing to “human desires”. To remain in their suffering Peter equates to living “by the will of God”.
If find it interesting how the harsh persecution of Christians correlated with the rapid growth of Christianity. Today, particularly in the Western world, the opposite is happening. Christianity is generally met with apathy more than hostility – and the church is shrinking (at least the more institutional expression of church which has dominated the West for 1,500 years).
If you’re a student of the bible you know that God is not above sacrificing human lives for the sake of larger objectives. We see this all over the Old Testament and even in the New Testament. I wonder if the Lord may ultimately usher in a new wave of persecution of Christians in the West so that Christianity might thrive here once again. I know. We don’t want to think that our God would do such a thing, but it’s not out of the question based on God’s actions in the past.
Lord wake your church from its slumber that we might be renewed for the sake of the gospel. Amen.