The Right Cross

1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin (1 Peter 4).

Christ came to “suffer”—and we are meant to do the same. We are to “arm” (yet another word found only in this epistle) ourselves with this very “purpose” (literally, “intention”). But what “flesh” are we talking about here? Is it the flesh of the physical body, or the flesh that makes sinful choices?

Christ indeed “suffered in the flesh” while on the cross, but are we supposed to suffer in this way, too? No, of course not. How sad that so many monks in the past misunderstood this! It’s ludicrous to think Peter would be telling everyone to go out and make sure they experience physical pain—and that in that pain we would “cease from sin.” No, the way we keep from sinning is by “putting to death the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13). This is the only cross Jesus told us to carry (Luke 9:23-24).

Lord, help us This Day to carry the right cross and live according to the Spirit, rather than according to the flesh. Amen.