How to Cease from Sinning

Sin, like oxygen, is all around us and in us. Sin is ubiquitous at least on the earth. If we did not have oxygen around and in us, we all agree that as humans we would die. We all agree that humans are fallible; we are not perfect. As such, the proposition of How to Cease from Sinning seems implausible.

Fortunately, I do not have to have a defense for How to Cease from Sinning. Those are God’s Words not mine. While the context of the Word is more intricate than what I am presenting today, the essence of the matter is us moving away from sin. The pivotal point is that we can not be engaged in behavior that is contrary to God’s expectations. Let’s go to the Word of God.

The notion of Christ-like suffering begins 1 Peter 3 where the text says “17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” Now in chapter 4, there is a call for suffering to be extended into our everyday lives.

1 Peter 4:1-6 (NKJV)
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who 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 (NIV)
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

In reference to How to Cease from Sinning, the Reformation Bible notes that some interpret this to refer to the character-building effects of suffering. But the preceding reference to baptism (3:21; cf. Rom. 6:1–10) indicates that Peter is thinking of the union of believers with Christ in His suffering and death, a union particularly symbolized by baptism (Rom. 6:4). Though Christ was always sinless (2:22; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15), He nevertheless fully identified with sinful humanity by coming “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3) and becoming subject to temptation, suffering, and death (Mark 1:12, 13; Heb. 2:10; 4:15). Christ “died to sin” (Rom. 6:10) in the sense that after His death and Resurrection He was no longer subject to the power of sin and death.

The question really is then how does suffering help us to cease from sinning or to be done with sin? Suffering, whether physical, financial, or the like, forces us to depend on God to deliver or the meet a need that we are unable to do on our own or through others. In that circumstance, we are totally reliant upon God. We know the principle taught about trusting in God is that no one who hopes in Him will ever be put to shame. Among other scriptures, Romans 6 conveys that to us. Specifically, Romans 6:6 “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.

Within the context of this text, Peter had just said “18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.1 Peter 3

We can be free from the power of sin because of what Christ did and now is at the right hand of God having all subject to Him. Christ will enable us if we so choose to follow Him in our circumstance where we are confronted with the choice to sin. Sounds pie in the sky, but it is true. For the believer, we can say no to sin. We can stare sin directly in the face and say no. Whereas without Christ, we were slaves and powerless to pursue righteousness. We just sinned because sin had power over us.

As confirmation, Titus 2:11-14 tells us “11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

How to Cease from Sinning – follow Jesus. As Christ suffered in the flesh, we too must be willing to die to our flesh to demonstrate or exemplify the character of God. In Ephesians 4, Paul says ” 17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.” Matthew Henry expresses it as “The apostle explains what he means by being dead to sin, and ceasing from sin, both negatively and positively. Negatively, a Christian ought no longer to live the rest of his time in the flesh, to the sinful lusts and corrupt desires of carnal wicked men; but, positively, he ought to conform himself to the revealed will of the holy God. Learn, 1. The lusts of men are the springs of all their wickedness, Jas. 1:13, 14. Let occasional temptations be what they will, they could not prevail, were it not for men’s own corruptions. 2. All good Christians make the will of God, not their own lusts or desires, the rule of their lives and actions. 3. True conversion makes a marvellous change in the heart and life of every one who partakes of it. It brings a man off from all his old, fashionable, and delightful lusts, and from the common ways and vices of the world, to the will of God. It alters the mind, judgment, affections, way, and conversation of every one who has experienced it.”

How to Cease from Sinning – follow Jesus.


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