Suffering for Righteousness Sake

“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves (also) with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” (1 Peter 4:1).

The recipients of the First Epistle of Peter were those undergoing persecution and suffering which were common to first century Christians. He reminds them that their suffering is a result of following Christ, who has left them an example, and as they face this persecution with “good behavior in Christ,” those who persecute are put to shame (1 Peter 2:21; 3:18). 

These Christians were called to arm themselves, “a military term which refers to a soldier putting on his weapons to fight the enemy” (Kistemaker, 156). Christ was the ultimate example. He suffered “once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit (1 Peter 3:18). Peter’s audience were to identify with this suffering and arm themselves with the same way of thinking. It was the supreme model for his readers.

Peter goes on to say, “…for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” Suffering brings mortification. In persecution there is no pursuit of pleasure or display of pride. In this willingness to suffer, and to do so with “good behavior” they were assured to be living “for the will of God” (v. 2).

Amid all the dangers and hardships of persecution or suffering, it is indeed a safe and blessed place to be. Take up your cross and die daily with Christ as your example. Your suffering is for righteousness sake. 

“Our sufferings may be lasting, not everlasting” (Thomas Watson)