“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.” (1 Peter 4:1–2, AV)
When I was in the United States Army, after much training, I was assigned to the 3rd Armor Division in the Federal Republic of Germany during the Cold War period in January 1975. There, I was assigned as an Armored Tank Platoon Leader. I knew of the firepower of our tanks. At that time, one tank was supposed to have as much firepower as an entire infantry platoon. I took over a platoon with six M60A1 main battle tanks.
However, I never personally comprehended the full firepower under my command until we went to the field for a platoon live fire exercise where we maneuvered and engaged an objective with all of our platoon tanks firing the main tank gun, the 30-caliber machine gun, and the 50-caliber machine gun in the exercise. What I experienced was beyond description. Literally, after we had expended all of our ammunition, the grassland in front of us was literally on fire from the rounds of ammunition we poured out in a short period of time.
Peter used an interesting word in the key phrase, “arm yourselves likewise with the same mind.” The word “arm,” hoplizo, is used of a soldier being equipped with weapons for war (Strong G3694). However, here Peter did not say that Christians are to pick up spears or knives, but rather they were to pick up the armament of the same mind that Christ had in His suffering.
There is no doubt that on the cross Christ suffered. His suffering brought the defeat of sin and its power. The first part of this armament of the mind is the comprehension of Christ’s suffering for us and that He delivered us who believe from the penalty of eternal punishment. Yet, the suffering goes beyond this. In defeating sin, He also defeated its power over us.
Moreover, Paul wrote to the Romans that we who have believed also died with Christ. As such, we have been joined in His victory. In other words, we have won the victory in Him. Therefore, we are no longer slaves to sin. It has no mastery over us. (Romans 6:5-11).
Thus, we must arm ourselves with this mindset. We shall no longer walk in our former way of life according to our fleshly and worldly passions. Instead, we are to walk in the newness of life. We must arm our minds with the consideration of our earthly sufferings. When trials and persecutions come, we must continue steadfast in the truth.
When I consider the armament of warfare and all the power that was at my command with my tank platoon, as awesome as it was, it is nothing compared to the armament of the mind set on Christ and His sufferings. We must train our minds to consider these things as we are thrust into spiritual battles in this fallen world.