Text: 1 Peter 4:1-6 | Listen to Message
When Jesus was faced with a choice between his own will (to save his life) vs. the Father’s will (to suffer and die for the sins of the world), he articulated his desire but then concluded, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
Jesus armed himself with this truth: It is better to suffer in God’s will than to sin.
Though this doesn’t sound like a very 21st Century thing to say, it’s a foundational principle for Christian living: “No matter what specific situation I find myself in, I’m deciding right now that it’s better to suffer in God’s will than to sin.”
What if your boss orders to lie on a report or to cut corners on product quality to boost the bottom line?
What if you’re tempted to cheat on a test to secure a better grade?
What about when you want to ridicule or slander another person to make yourself look better?
What if everyone else is running out after work to engage in something unwholesome, and you desperately want to be part of the “in” crowd?
What if you’re thinking about going to that dark place online?
In each of these common instances, it will cost you something to say “no” to your flesh – or to the world – and to say “yes” to the will of Christ. You’ll lose something you value. You’ll miss out on something. You’ll probably even be misunderstood and maligned.
But what happens when you’re willing to suffer, rather than to sin? What happens when you say “no” to self 100 times? And then 1,000 times? Sin loses its power over you. As someone once said, the nerve center of sin is severed.
By the way – and this is important! – this is not some kind of religious, moralistic, “Stop sinning and then God will accept you. Be good enough, and maybe God will love you.” Peter reminds us in this text that God already loves and accepts you because of the suffering of Jesus – the righteous for the unrighteous – to bring you back to God.
So we don’t cease from sin to earn God’s love; we cease from sin because we already have his love. And he has broken sin’s power over us so that we don’t have to sin. And he’s paid for our sin and risen from the dead, so suffering in his will doesn’t have the last word. Resurrection gets the last word.