Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Same Mind of Christ – 13 April 2016, Anno Domini
1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (1 Peter 4:1-6)
At the outset of our devotion, perhaps it will be profitable to consider with what Mind we should view all things both heavenly and spiritually.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Phil 2:5)
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:16)
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (1 John 2:6)
1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin. We are not our own, but we belong to God. If we have "done it OUR way" that way leads to the depths of despair and hell. There is only one right Way, and that is the Way, the Truth and the Life which is Jesus Christ. "As a general rule, if taken at its basic meaning: Those man who suffer generally reflect on their life and ways, are humbled, loathe themselves because of their past iniquities, and ceases from them; for, in a state of suffering, the mind loses its desire for the sins of the flesh, because they are embittered to them through the apprehension which they have of death and judgment; and, on their application to God's mercy, they are delivered from their sin. The greater meaning seems to me to be: "Those who have firmly resolved, if called to it, to suffer death rather than apostatize from Christianity, have consequently ceased from, or are delivered from, the sin of saving their lives at the expense of their faith."
If we have been faithful to God's Word, we will not escape hardship and suffering as a result. We will be ostracized from common society and labeled as radicals or hermits. But walking in the Mind of Christ places us on that straight and Narrow Way that leads up to Heaven.
The salient point of today's text is singular:
Walk in the Way of the Lord
a. The Command to do so:
The first verse combines with the second and is our commandment: "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
One major difference in the NATO command structure and that of the old Soviet regime was this: In the NATO forces, there was, and remains, a structure of command that descended from the most senior officers to the lowest private. If a leader were attrited, the next in seniority took command, all the way down to the last man. The Soviet forces had no such command structure for attrition. When the leader fell, there was a dilemma. With God as our Commander, we have no such problem of either example. We have only Him to follow. If we abide by our 'marching orders,' we are all marching with the same purpose, intent, and perseverance - the Mind of Christ!
b. The Reason for our dilemma before coming to Christ:
The American soldier of time past would die in battle bravely for his country, but he needed to be told a reason for his sacrifice. If he knew the WHY, the HOW was a matter of ingenuity and courage. The sinner tries to solve the question of HOW before he examines the WHY. What sense does it make to drown our sorrows in drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous and sensual pursuits when the end is death? Let us settle the WHY and the HOIW will be no challenge. "For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries." When we operate under someone else's plan of action, we are not thinking for ourselves; but when we have put on the Mind of Christ, we think, act, and live with that Mind. Our thoughts that are His thoughts become naturally our own. We have no division of opinion when we are One with Christ, and there will be no division and contention in our churches either when the Mind of Christ rules for His Mind is indivisible.
c. The Result:
Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." The people of God are considered 'peculiar' by the world. "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (1 Peter 2:9) The world marches to its own drummer, and believes that the whole creation is out of step when it is them who are missing the beat of the True Drummer. For doing God and living according to righteousness, we are blamed for doing evil by the world. Why, do they not truly understand? No, they do truly understand, but if they admit to a God who is just, they are faced with the dilemma of repenting of their sins and allowing the Holy Ghost to amend their lifestyles. This, they cannot abide. None will be left without excuse. Those who lived in the days of Noah, before the Gospel of the Promise of Abraham was preached, have had the Gospel preached to them in prison by Christ. They cannot admit to having no preacher to warn them. Being in the spirit in that prison, they were given volition to live in the same Spirit of Christ while having died in the flesh.
How about you, dear Reader? Are you dead in trespasses and sin, or alive in Christ having died TO those trespasses and sins.