Sabbath School Lesson - Monday, April 24, 2017
To Suffer in the Flesh
Yes, Jesus died for our sins, and our hope of salvation is found only in Him, in His righteousness, which covers us and causes us to be accounted righteous in the eyes of God. Because of Jesus, you are “accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.”—Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 62.
But God’s grace doesn’t end just with a pronunciation, a declaration that our sins are forgiven. God gives the power to overcome our sins, as well.
Read 1 Peter 3:18, 21 and 1 Peter 4:1, 2, as well as Romans 6:1–11. What is the link between suffering and victory over sin?
There is a small Greek word used in 1 Peter 3:18 that emphasizes the comprehensive nature of Jesus’ sacrifice. It is the word hapax, which means “once for all.” Peter uses hapax to emphasize the comprehensive nature of the suffering of Jesus and His death for us.
The phrase “forasmuch then” in 1 Peter 4:1 links 1 Peter 4:1, 2 with what has just been said in 1 Peter 3:18–22. In these earlier verses, Peter points out that Christ suffered for our sins in order that He might bring us to God ( 1 Pet. 3:18) and that “baptism doth also now save us” ( 1 Pet. 3:21).
Baptism, then, is perhaps the best context against which to understand Peter’s words, “for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin” ( 1 Pet. 4:1). By baptism, the Christian participates in the suffering and death and resurrection of Jesus; the Christian has made a choice to “live for the rest of [his or her] earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God” ( 1 Pet. 4:2, NRSV). This can be accomplished only by the daily surrender of self to the Lord and the crucifying of “the flesh with its passions and desires” ( Gal. 5:24, NKJV).
In Romans 6:1–11, Paul says that at baptism Christians are united with Jesus in His death and resurrection. At baptism, we have died to sin. We need now to make that death to sin real in our lives. Paul’s words, “reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” ( Rom. 6:11), give the secret of the Christian’s life.
When was the last time you found yourself “suffering in the flesh” in order to fight against sin? What does your answer say to you about your Christian life?