Summary: Believers strengthen their resolve in persecution when they are armed with an understanding of the 1) Attitude of Christ, 2) the Will of God, 3) the Transformation from the past, and 4) the Hope of eternal life.
When 53-year-old Danny Anderson was feeding his horses Monday night, a 5-foot rattler slithered onto his central Washington property.
Anderson and his 27-year-old son, Benjamin, pinned the snake with an irrigation pipe and cut off its head with a shovel. A few more strikes to the head left it sitting under a pickup truck.
"When I reached down to pick up the head, it raised around and did a backflip almost, and bit my finger," Anderson said. "I had to shake my hand real hard to get it to let loose."
His wife insisted they go to the hospital, and by the time they arrived at Prosser Memorial Hospital 10 minutes later, Anderson’s tongue was swollen and the venom was spreading. He then was taken by ambulance 30 miles to a Richland hospital to get the full series of six shots he needed.
It turns out a snake can still strike for an hour even after its head is cut off.
If another rattlesnake comes along, Anderson said he’ll likely try to kill it again, but said he’ll grab a shovel and bury it right there. (Information from: Tri-City Herald, http://www.tri-cityherald.com)
The great gospel promise of victory is in:
Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."
Satan is a defeated foe (Col. 2:15). Like the head of a dead snake, we face the danger of the world, the flesh and the devil. Although defeated, these forces can cause damage.
Like taking a shovel to a foe, 1 Peter 4:1-6 calls us to arm ourselves for battle. The verb, used only here in the New Testament, is from hoplizô, an aorist middle imperative, meaning literally, “to arm oneself with weapons” or “to put on as armor.” The noun form hoplon means “weapons” and is used in six passages eg., John 18:3; 2 Cor. 6:7; 10a. The picture is of preparation for battle.
The apostle Peter provides believers with four perspectives motivating them to be strong when righteousness brings suffering and, perhaps, martyrdom. Believers strengthen their resolve in persecution when they are armed with an understanding of the 1) Attitude of Christ, 2) the Will of God, 3) the Transformation from the past, and 4) the Hope of eternal life.
1) THE ATTITUDE OF CHRIST 1 Peter 4:1
1 Peter 4:1 [4:1]Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, (ESV)
Therefore obviously points back to what Peter wrote in the preceding passage, that at the Cross Christ endured His greatest suffering, dying under divine judgment as the just for the unjust; yet there He also accomplished for believers His greatest triumph over sin and its condemning power, over the forces of hell, and over the power of death. The cross of Jesus Christ is the ultimate proof that suffering can lead to victory over the forces of evil.
As we saw last week, when Jesus suffered in the flesh, He died (3:18; cf. Isa. 53:10; Matt. 27:50; Acts 2:23) in fulfilling divine redemption’s plan. When He went to the Cross, the Father made Him to be sin and a curse for all who believe; as Paul said: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’ ” (Gal. 3:13; cf. Deut. 21:23). He came “in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin” (Rom. 8:3; cf. 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).
Therefore He felt the full force of sin’s evil unjustly, but in so doing He gained for His saints salvation and for Himself the everlasting honour and praise of all who will live in heaven (cf. Rev. 5:8–14).
God calls us to wake up, seize the Divine power given to us and arm ourselves:
Romans 13:12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. (ESV) (cf. 2 Cor. 6:7)
2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (ESV)
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (ESV)
In the context of 1 Peter 4:1 the primary weapon Peter calls for in arming believers is the same way of thinking/purpose that was manifest through Christ’s suffering and death. That way of thinking/purpose (“attitude,” “thought,” or “principle”) is a willingness to die because Christians know death produces the greatest victory (cf. 1 Cor. 15:26, 54–55; 2 Tim. 1:10; Rev. 21:4).