Sunday, January 30, 2022

“Done with Sin” [Matt's Messages]

“Done with Sin”
As Foreigners and Exiles - The Message of 1 Peter
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
January 30, 2022 :: 1 Peter 4:1-6

I lifted the title for this message out of the last three words of verse 1 in the NIV:

“Done With Sin.”

Which sounds either really good or really scary, right? Or maybe both.

I mean it sounds really good to be done with sin. Oh, for that day when we are finally and fully done with sin forever! Holiness forever! “Done with sin.”

But when you read the words right before it, it can get a little scary, “because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.”

Does that mean that it’s going to take some bodily suffering to do away with our sin problem? So that if we are still struggling with sin, what we really need is some good old fashioned torture? Or disease? Or whatever kind of suffering to deal with it?

I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s where Peter is going with this.

The idea is more like our phrase, “Over it.”

We all use it, right, “I’m so over it.” How many times have we said that about covid for the last two years?! “I’m over it.” “I’m done with it.”

When I was writing my report this week, I said to Heather that dealing with covid the first year was so hard because it was so new. And then it was so hard the second year because it had gotten so old.

Well, I think that’s the basic idea here with sin. The principle that Peter is putting forward is that the person who has chosen this kind of suffering for Christ is “over it” when it comes to sin.

It’s not that he or she is now perfect or sinless, of course not. It means that he or she has made a decisive break. Their love affair with sin has ended. The blush is off the rose. The shine is gone from sin. The priorities are radically reset.  They are “through with it.” They are “done with sin.”

Now, doesn’t that sound good? Not as good as it will get when we all get to heaven, and what a day of rejoicing that will be. But the goodness of a new way of living in the here and now while we wait for that day to come.

“Done with Sin.” That’s what this passage is all about.

How do we get there and how to do stay there?

I’ve got four points of application to try summarize the teaching here. Number one.


Decide in advance to be done with sin. Look again at verse 1.

“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.”

Now the “therefore” ties this directly to the passage right before this one. The one we spent two Sundays studying together, especially chapter 3 verse 18.

“It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit...”

Jesus died on the Cross for our sins, the ultimate unjust suffering for good.

We can’t imagine what He went through in His crucifixion! 

And Peter says since He did that, “arm yourselves also with the same attitude.” The same mind-set as Jesus’. 

“Arm yourselves.” But not with a Glock or a Winchester or an AK or an AR. That’s not what he’s talking about here. He’s talking about arming yourself with an attitude.

We say, “Getting your game face on.” Preparing your mind. Getting ready. Deciding in advance to have the same attitude as Jesus.

What was His attitude? “I will suffer for doing good.”

“I am willing to suffer as I do the right thing.” Because Jesus did!

He was our example, and we are called to follow in His footsteps.

Another word for “attitude” here could “resolve.” 

Arm yourselves with the same resolution as your Lord. Decide up front.

Here’s why. When you do that, it’s much easier to be “finished with” sin.  “Over it” with sin. Look at the second half of v.1 again.

“...arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.”

Now, some Bible scholars have thought that “he” there is Jesus. Since Jesus has suffered his body, He has solved our sin problem. And that’s a possible interpretation.

Some have thought that “he” there is us in Christ. Since we are in Jesus and Jesus has suffered in his body for our sins, we are no longer bound by sin. And that’s true, but I don’t think that’s what is getting at.

I think what he’s saying is that if you have the mind-set of Jesus to be willing to suffer in your body as you follow Him, then you have clearly chosen the side of holiness. You’ve “ceased from sin.”

The old writer Samuel Johnson famously said, “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

When you say, “I will follow Jesus even if I must be tortured for it,” you are done with sin. Not perfectly but genuinely.

In fact, this what Peter says it looks like in practice. Verse 2.

“As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.”

Decide up front to live for the will of God.

Of course, even when we do that, it’s still an uphill climb.

Point number two is to make a clean break.


Make a break with sin. Make a break with your past.

It’s interesting, isn’t it, how this circles back to the first verse of our Hide the Word?

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” 

There’s that war theme again. Arm yourselves and fight against your intern sinful desires. Don’t live for them, but rather live for the desires of God.

Make a break with your sinful past. Look at verse 3.

“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.”

Peter says, “You’ve had enough of that! You’ve had enough of the party-hearty-lifestyle of your neighbors.”

Unbridled sex, food, alcohol and other un-controlled substances. Lack of self-control. Wild living. 

Or maybe the sins of your past seem more tame on the outside. Add your sinful desires to his list.

You have “spent enough time,” in...unbridled worry, unbridled greed, unbridled deception and lying, unbridled gossip. You’ve “spent enough time” in cold-heartedness to people’s needs, in swallowing down worthless entertainment, and in loving the things of this world.

Maybe you don’t dive into debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and detestable idolatry, but your Netflix history says that you love to binge watch it.

Peter says you’ve “spent enough time” living like the rest of the world.

Remember, you are a foreigner here. You are an exile.

Yes, you live here. And you have to do your best to love your neighbors and fit in. But not like that.

You used to go in for all of that, but now you’ve changed. You’re done with sin. Make a break.

And when you make that break, don’t expect that to go easy either.


And not just from your own heart trying to tug you back. But from your old friends and your neighbors trying take you down with them. V.4

“They [the pagans around you] think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.”

Has anybody experienced this? Your old friends are not happy for you that Jesus has found you.

They don’t like how you’ve changed. They think you’re now a goodie-two-shoes and you think you’re better than them. When you know that you certainly are not!

They actually can feel betrayed by you. They are shocked. They “think it strange.” They are surprised at how you are living your life now as foreigner and an exile.

What do we do with foreigners? We make them as uncomfortable as possible! We laugh at them. Foreigners are often the butt of jokes. They are ridiculed and maligned. And Peter says, “That’s who you are in this story. Be that foreign guy. And be ready for the abuse.”

The world is going to say that one thing is “normal,” and you and I are not going to  conform to that. We can’t go there. We live by the “normal” of the kingdom to come.

And so there is going to be tension with our neighbors even though we’re just trying to do good!

Be ready for it.

If you haven’t experienced yet, just wait. It’s coming. Sometimes, it’s their guilty consciences coming out. They attack you because they know down deep that they are doing wrong. And they will put pressure on us to conform. To go back to sin. To be “done with holiness” instead of done with sin.

Sometimes it will be subtle. And sometimes it will be a steam-roller.

If it’s not happening you, if you don’t feel this pressure at all, then that should be a warning sign, too. They don’t think you’re strange because you just plunge along with them into the same dissipation, and they heap praise on you. If that’s your story, beware.

If we are living as we ought, we will feel pressure from the world to live like the world.

And we will be tempted at times to give up and given in.

Which leads to point number four and our last.


Decide up front. Make a break. Expect attack. And don’t turn back.

They may put all kinds of pressure on you. In fact, the pressure may be crushing. They may even kill you. Don’t turn back.  Verse 5.

“They heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”

The world doesn’t get the last word. And there will be a reckoning.

Sometimes it seems like there is no justice in the world. And there isn’t enough justice in the world. But perfect justice is on the way.

God is ready to judge the living and the dead. Nobody gets away from justice.

Well, there is one way to get out from under justice and that is God’s grace through  what Jesus did for us on the Cross. V.6

The judge is coming. “For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.”

Now, that sounds a little confusing, and just like last week’s passage, good theologians throughout church history have come up with different interpretations of what it means.

But I think it is actually just saying this:

The gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ was preached to people who came to believe it and then they died maybe even a martyr’s death.

So they might have been judged according to the human standards and came up short so that they were persecuted and condemned and even killed for living as Jesus wants them to, like Jesus Himself did.

But that was not the end of their story because of the gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ!

Because of the gospel, they live according to God in regard to the Spirit. They are more alive now than when they were alive in the body.

And because Jesus came back from the dead through the power of the Spirit (we saw that last week), these believers will also come back from the dead through the power of the Spirit.

So you know what that means?

It means that it’s all worth it. 

Don’t turn back. Don’t let them bully you into go back into sin. They will have to answer for that. And because you belong to Jesus, no matter what they do, everything will be okay.

Even death is not end. Don’t turn back.

I know that is hard. It is hard to live the way that Peter wants us to, the way that God wants us to. But Jesus has shown us the way and walked the hardest path. He suffered in his body! Like we cannot imagine.

And that not only provides us with salvation but also with a perfect example to follow.

Decide up front, right now, to arm yourself with His attitude.

And make a break with your old life.

What have you “spent enough time in the past doing” that needs you to be done with?

Make a break with it.

And don’t turn back.

Even when they turn on you.

Because as Jesus has also shown us, death is not the end. It’s just the middle.

About 10 years ago there was this phrase that entered into our vocabulary, YOLO. You Only Live Once.

It’s a lie. The world says it all of the time to get you to do what they do. But we know that you only once and then there is a judgment. And then there is whole other life for believers. Death is not the end. The worse they can do is kill you, and death’s something that we are all headed for anyway!

That was Jesus’ mind-set as He went to the Cross with the joy set before Him.

Arm yourself with that attitude.

And you will be done with sin.