By John Henson
Some obey the gospel and may think as they emerge from baptism that their lives will become a story of blessing forever and then heaven. Little do they realize that if they live faithful lives in Jesus Christ, they will suffer (2 Timothy 3:12).
In 1 Peter chapters three and four the Apostle Peter deals with how to deal with this reality. In chapter three, the apostle wrote, “Because Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring you to God, by being put to death in the flesh but by being made alive in the spirit,” (1 Peter 3:18 NET).
Christ’s path back to the glory with the Father (Philippians 2:5ff.) was on the road of suffering. If we follow Jesus, then our way to glory is in his steps and also on that same road. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone that suffers goes to heaven. Peter addressed saints who were headed into a “fiery ordeal” (1 Peter 4:12).
Therefore, it is time to arm ourselves. This word, “arm,” is the word “ὁπλίζω,” which is translated “arm” in the New American Standard Bible and “equip” in the New English Translation. The word picture is of a soldier who prepares himself for battle by making sure he has the proper weapon.
Christians need to prepare our minds in the same way Peter described in this passage. The apostle wrote, “You also arm yourselves with the same attitude,” (1 Peter 4:1 NET). In his landmark work, Word Pictures in the New Testament, A.T. Robertson wrote, that “attitude” also means “mind, thinking, will.”
We arm ourselves with the same attitude, mind, thinking and will by building our faith with the word of God (Romans 10:17). There is no other way. If we arm ourselves with the word of God and have the right attitude, we may be confident we can endure suffering and then arrive at our destination in heaven with the blessed Savior.