Finished With Sin
“So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.“ 1 Peter 4:1
This is an amazing verse, isn't it?
Have you finished with sin? Or, do you carry it around—your preferred pet—deciding when and how you will allow yourself to enjoy it? When someone calls you out on your sin, are you convicted, or do you take your sin and run home, saying, “Don’t worry, my little pet. I won’t let them come between us.”
The Holy Bible tells us that sin is pleasurable (Hebrews 11:25), but that this pleasure is fleeting. It is the way that seems right to a man, but it ends in death (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25). Sin's pleasure is the worst kind of lie. It is the ultimate bait and switch offer.
So, just what exactly does it mean to finish with sin?
I believe it means we have sacrificed our own will on the altar and have truly taken up our cross to follow Jesus, no matter the suffering, as it will surely come. It means we have given up our selfish pursuits. It means we have determined by our will to follow Him, whatever the cost. It doesn't mean we are perfect—no, not yet. But, we no longer make excuses for our sin. We are sober-minded about following Him.
But, what does physical suffering have to do with sin?
Proverbs 20:30 says, "Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart."
Proverbs 22:15 tells us, "A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away."
And further, Proverbs 23:13-14, "Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them. Physical discipline may well save them from death."
If physical discipline for doing wrong purifies the heart, then how much more cleansing is physical suffering for doing what is right—for following in the footsteps of Jesus?
On this Advent Sunday of Joy, I find no more joyful place in all the world than this place.
"Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world" (1 Peter 4:12-13).
Happy Sunday of Joy!