"Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God."
STRONGS HEBREW/GREEK ORIGINS
"Therefore, since Christ has suffered (pascho: to be vexed, to feel and have a sensible experience, to sadly be in a bad plight, sick) in the flesh (sarx: body, flesh and bone), arm (hoplizo: furnish with arms, to furnish one's self with a thing) yourselves also with the same purpose (ennoia: mind, intent, consideration, meditation, conception and thinking), because he who has suffered in the flesh (sarx: body, flesh and bone) has ceased (pauo: leave, refrain, no longer stirred by incitements and seductions) from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh (sarx: body, flesh and bone) no longer for the lusts (epithumia: desires and cravings for what is forbidden) of men, but for the will (thelema: desire, pleasure and purposes) of God."
Therefore, since Christ has suffered in sadness and plight, experientially in His body, arm yourselves also with the same mind and intent, because he who has suffered in his body has refrained from being enticed by the seductions of sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the body no longer for the forbidden desires and cravings of men, but for the pleasure and purposes of God.
I remember as a child being reared within the organized Baptist church, sin was always openly discussed. It was always made clear that my sin made me vile and despised by God and so therefore I must “make a decision” and somehow cease from sinning. Of course little beyond the hollow “try harder”, “be better” and “go to church more” approaches were every taught so off I went into my life, ignorant, naïve and entirely ill-equipped for spiritual success. Alongside these teachings it was insinuated that if you were uncomfortable, unhappy or experiencing anything deemed as “bad”, you surely did something wrong to encounter such suffering and likely “backslid” in order to encounter such calamity.
Fast forward. Here I sit this morning within mere weeks of 41 years of age being added to my vapor of a life. I’d like to think that I’ve learned a lot over the years, post-rebellion. Not in an arrogant way, but just a satisfaction that I’ve chosen to embark down the path of studying and embracing the realities of this mysterious Christ-life. I don’t run from the difficult things that make me confront my comforts or misconceptions about true Christianity any more. In fact, the more I read, the more I contemplate the vast depths of the Scriptures, the more I see how vital the challenges and sufferings are for spiritual growth.
So you want to stop sinning do you? Me too! But, incrementally, we must embrace the suffering in our flesh, arming ourselves with the purpose of Christ. It is not a simple matter of the will, it will take decision-by-decision action. Action that is rooted and established in complete surrender to the mind and will of Christ Who indwells the Believer. Our purpose, our intent and goal must be joined with that of Christ. Then and only then can we live out our post-regeneration lives for the desire, pleasures and purposes of our Father.
Hebrews tells us that “Jesus learned obedience by the things which He suffered”. What a beautiful thing it is I’ve found: to embrace this life I now live in the flesh, and the sufferings that come, trusting that it is giving me the opportunity to learn obedience as Jesus did. He fully knows that our absolute only hope is found in Him and He has left us in this physical body post-salvation for a reason! May we embrace the sufferings of this flesh and then be empowered to cease from sin.