1 Peter 4:1 (MEV): Therefore, since Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
Peter is using all he has written before. That is, what Jesus has already done for us. He even tells us of the patience of God. Even in suffering for us. Jesus did it in the flesh.
The work is done. Nothing else has to be done. In fact, God rested from all of His work on the seventh day of the creation week. Refs that from Hebrews.
Hebrews 4:4 (MEV): For He spoke somewhere about the seventh day like this: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.”
If salvation is a work of God, it was completed before that seventh day. Of course, Jesus never made advent in flesh, of the seed of woman until some 40 or so centuries later. That that work was done is evident in one of His titles, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Revelation 13:8 (MEV): All who dwell on the earth will worship him, all whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world.
From the reference in Hebrews above, the immediate context speaks of entering God’s rest. It’s a place of serving Him, as that passage slides to the Promised Land.
The plight of the Israelis in the desert is necessary for our understanding. They had been saved. As they left Egypt bound for gods promise to them, they did suffer. Even before the disobedience that kept them from entering.
Peter is encouraging us believers to arm ourselves with the same mind as Jesus had. Suffering comes and accept it as the will of God.
The Sufferer has Ceased from Sin.
Perhaps that last phrase in the verse becomes a bit difficult to apply. We may suffer in our flesh, but each of us may not clearly see we’ve actually created from sinning. That is not what is in view here.
Let’s look at the two verbs in the clause. The first is ‘has suffered.’ The subject is he. The tense in the Greek is aorist, which conveys a simple (one time) occurrence. It doesn’t mean that a believer is only going to suffer once. It means the suffering accomplished a purpose. Just as Jesus died once for sins. It is also in the active voice. Has suffered is also in the active voice. This means that the subject is performing the action. He suffered.
The second verb is ‘has ceased.’ This verb comes to us in the perfect tense, which indicates that the action has already happened with continuing persistence or application to the present. It is rendered in the passive voice, which tells us that the subject is the recipient of the action. It is also in indicative mood, which is a simple relating of fact.
Suffice it to say, the phrase ‘has ceased from sin’ carries an idea hard to discern in the English rendering. So far, we know the has ceased from sin is not something done by the subject but something done for them. Another fascinating tidbit lurks in the nuance of the Greek word from which the English cease is translated. The nuance includes a gradual build up.
An Immediate Release from Bondage.
1 Peter 4:2 (MEV): so that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh serving human desires, but the will of God.
This idea works perfectly with what the rest of Scripture offers. Consider there Israelites again as they left Egypt for the Promised Land. They had been saved from the world (Egypt typifies the word and its system.)
They gradually moved to the Promised Land. This typifies the life’s progress of the believer. Even to the point that we get to that place of rest and never really enter because of unbelief. It’s a gradual journey.
We will settle here for now. As believers, we should be ready for suffering. Even to choose it just as Jesus did. For us, it is an end of sin.
We will inevitably fail. The encouragement from Peter is to set our minds in a certain direction, abstaining from satisfying our own needs. In so doing, we will cease from the bondage of sin.