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The Memory That Shuns Sin, Part 1 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
June 8, 2021 4:00 am

The Memory That Shuns Sin, Part 1 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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Christ also, in His death, ceased from sin. He has nothing more to do with it.

It has nothing more to do with Him. And so, says Peter, arm yourselves with the same thought. We can also look forward to death because it frees us from sin. You can probably imagine the anger you'd feel toward a con artist who cheated you on a business deal, or a robber who broke into your house, or a terrorist who hurt someone you loved. But how offended are you by what the Lord Jesus died for, the sins He bore on the cross? How often do you get angry about your sin? Well today, John MacArthur explains how the suffering Christ endured on the cross should change the way you battle sin. It's part of his study, titled Breaking Sin's Grip, on Grace to You.

And with a lesson now, here's John. Let me read you the first six verses of 1 Peter, chapter 4. 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, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh, no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.

And in all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you. But they shall give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the Spirit according to the will of God. Since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose. Since Christ died, implied, and had such great triumph in his death, then arm yourselves also with the same purpose. In other words, be willing, carefully, be willing to die.

Arm yourself with that great thought. That's exactly what I believe Peter is saying here. It's a very simple statement. Christ died, and you need to arm yourself with that same idea that you, too, are willing to die because you understand that in dying there is triumph. You see, that is why so many martyrs throughout the history of the church have been willing to die, because they armed themselves with that same idea that there is great triumph in death. Jesus died and triumphed over sin. And if I die, look at it in verse 1. Because he who has suffered in the flesh, what does that phrase mean? To die has ceased from sin.

Did you get that? Is death so bad? You know what happens when you die?

What happens? You don't sin anymore. That's good, because you hate sin, and you would like to be delivered from sin, and you would like to be godly and virtuous and pure and holy and spotless. When a believer dies, he enters a permanent condition free from sin. Christ is the model of that. This was true of Christ, by the way. You say, now wait a minute, he wasn't a sinner.

That's right. He never sinned. He was without sin, but he came, listen carefully, into a world, and it says in Romans 8, 3, in the likeness of sinful flesh. And he came not only in the likeness of sinful flesh, but for sin.

And then he subjected himself to evil men doing wicked things to him. So he felt the brunt of sin, didn't he? And then on the cross, 2 Corinthians 5, 21 says he was made sin. And 1 Peter 2, 24 says he bore our sin. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh. He came to receive the worst evil that sinful men could do to him. He went to the cross and was made sin and bore sin, but when he died, he was what?

Free from sin. And all of that which he suffered in his incarnation came to an end. He was no more in the likeness of sinful flesh.

He had a glorified body. He will never again be subjected to the evil deeds by evil people and demons. He will never again bear sin.

It was once for all. And so Christ also, in his death, ceased from sin. He has nothing more to do with it.

It has nothing more to do with him. And so, says Peter, arm yourselves with the same thought. You want to have the ultimate weapon? Then understand when you die, you are free from sin forever. Now, only a fool would look at that and say, nah, I'd rather have what I've got. Wait a minute.

Impossible. But, beloved, cessation of sin is related to the death of the flesh. By the way, this verse is a good one to give a perfectionist, people who believe you can be perfect in this life. Peter says, no, the only way you cease from sin is when you're dead. The only sinless people are dead in the flesh.

Dead to this world. Any of them who are alive in this world have sin in their life. So Christ, by his death, was freed from the sinful powers under whose sway he voluntarily placed himself by identifying with man in the incarnation and by bearing the sin of man in the crucifixion. And I suppose that was in his mind when it says in Hebrews that he endured the cross for the joy that was set before him.

And what was that joy? Being forever free from sin. And we can also look forward to death because it frees us from sin. Just to tighten that thought down a little bit and make it firmer in your mind, listen to Romans 7, 5. So while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in the members of our body. As long as you're in the flesh, sinful passions are at work. Romans 7, 18, I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is in my flesh. Verse 23, I see the law of sin which is in my members.

Hey, as long as you're alive in this human body, you have a sin problem. And the only relief you're going to get is when you leave this body, when your flesh dies. Listen to 1 Corinthians 15 and you'll hear the comparison. Verse 42, he's talking about the resurrection and he says, our bodies are sown a perishable body, raised and imperishable. Sown in dishonor, raised in glory. Sown in weakness, raised in power. Sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body.

Verse 49, just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. It's not until we die that we get that imperishable, honorable, glorious, powerful, spiritual, heavenly body. And that's when the sting of death which is sin is forever removed.

He says later in that same chapter. Now, beloved, if you're a Christian, you're going to get there sooner or later, right? Would sooner be too bad? Or would you rather wait till later and indulge yourself as long as possible in your sinful flesh? Now, do you understand why a deeply thinking Christian does not fear death? We're all headed for that. We're all going to ultimately reach the blessing of sinlessness.

And if you think about it, you ought to be saying the sooner the better. Now, since that is our goal and since that is our destiny, then we don't fear suffering. Because the worst that suffering can do is kill us and give us the best, the goal of our life, bring us into sinless perfection. Now, if you ever happen to be being burned at the stake, crucified upside down, suspended by pins between your ankles, or if you happen to be massacred or whatever and it's a slight chance, very slight I suppose, you can simply remind your persecutors that they are doing you an immense favor. For in the process, they are bringing you to sinless, perfect glory, which is that for which you were saved in the first place and you can give them your deep appreciation for that generous gift which they have rendered in behalf of your eternal perfection. Now, if that all sounds very strange to you, it shows you how confused our thinking is, right? Now, why do I want to be armed with this idea? Verse 2, I want to be armed with this idea so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lust of men but for the will of God.

You say, well, how does that tie in just this way? Look, if the goal of my life is sinlessness in the end, then I've got to be on the way to that. I'm to live my life shunning sin. I'm to live the rest of the time in my flesh until the day that I cease from sin through death no longer for the lust of men but the will of God. Since that's the goal of my life, I've got to get my life moving in the right track now.

So what do I live for the rest of my life? To avoid sin. So as to live, that's the word from which we get biology. It talks about earthly life. I am to live on this earth, live out my human existence the rest of the time God gives me in this flesh, not for the lusts of men but for the will of God. Whatever is left of the years of my life, whatever is left for me in this fleshly sinful body will no longer be for the lusts of men, no longer motivated, energized by epithumia, you know, that strong word that means evil desire.

I'm not going to live that way anymore. I'm going to shun that for the will of God. So this is very practical application of what Peter's been teaching. Christ triumphed in his death, you ought to have the same mind that you're headed toward a triumph over sin and it won't come to you either until your death so your death will be your greatest triumph and since the goal of your life is the death that frees you from sin, then the present tense of your life should be the pursuit of the goal of your life which is to be as free from sin as you possibly can here and now. So for the rest of the time in the flesh, you don't pursue the lusts of men, you pursue the will of God. Peter then is calling us to shun sin and not live any longer driven by our evil desire rooted in our flesh. If you want a good picture of that, you need only remember Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus where he says in chapter 2 describing the unregenerate, you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now is working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind.

It's the way we live. But he says now I'm a Christian and the rest of my time I will no longer live that way. So the goal of the Christian life is to avoid sin. Now, Peter's going to help us a little bit in this passage to avoid sin, not by giving us a forward look or even a present look, but by giving us a remembering look, calling on our memories. One very important stimulus to shunning sin, which we should do since that's the goal of our life, one very, very important stimulus is a good memory. And the first thing I would like to suggest that we need to remember is this, what sin did to Jesus Christ.

Okay? We need to remember what sin did to Jesus Christ. That should help you to hate it. That should help you to shun it. That should help you to avoid it. Now, as the long years of our life go by until we cease from sin through death, through all of this time, we're going to do everything we can to avoid it. And in order to want to avoid it, I believe you've got to really hate it.

And in order to really hate it, you've got to understand what it's like. And to understand what it's like, you need to start by seeing what it did to Christ. What did it do to Christ?

Verse one, Christ has suffered in the flesh. You tell me what did it do to Christ? In one word, killed Him. Killed Him.

Cost Him His life. Can you enjoy it when you know what it did to Christ? When you realize that He was made sin? When you realize that He bore in His body our sins on the cross? When you realize the Bible says He was made a curse for us?

Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree in Galatians. When you realize that He was the spotless, pure, and holy second member of the Trinity who never had come in any contact with sin and who then was made sin and bore the sins of the world on His body, and they took His life, they killed Him, they separated Him from God so that He cried, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? When you realize that it put Him on a cross and nails were hammered through His limbs and thorns crushed into His brow and spit dripped off His body and a spear was rammed into His side, when you realize all of that and all of that was caused by sin, it ought to help you to hate sin, right?

If you love Christ. I watch people who are full of vengeance because somebody has harmed someone they love. I sometimes see an interview of a parent whose child has been killed by a drunk driver, a parent whose child has been killed by even a disease. I watch a spouse who has lost a partner in a crime where they were an innocent victim, and I hear the bitterness and the vengeance and the hatred toward the perpetrator of the crime, and as a father and a husband and a friend, I understand that. I understand that when something very precious to us is assaulted and devastated and crushed and killed, that there wells up in our heart a hatred of that, if not a hatred of the person, a hatred of the deed. And certainly if we understand that the murderer of Jesus Christ was sin, then we should hate sin.

Doesn't that seem a reasonable conclusion? So, if you have a good memory, it might help you to shun sin, and the first thing to remember is what sin did to Jesus Christ. Second thing to remember, remember what sin has done to Christians. Remember what sin has done to Christians.

You say, well, what's that? Well, I'll tell you what it's done to us. It's messed us up. In fact, it's messed us up so badly that we can't even get deliverance from it until we're what? Dead.

Don't you hate that? Wouldn't you like to have one week without sin? It's messed us up. Verse 1, he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. What sin has done to us is so infect us that the only way we can cease from it is to be dead.

Conversely, as long as we're alive, we are assaulted by it. You read Romans chapter 7, and the apostle Paul is crying out that I love the law of God with my inner man, but there's something else in me. There is something warring with that love for what is right. Sin that is in my flesh, and the things I want to do I don't do, and the things I don't want to do I do.

Oh, wretched man that I am. Romans chapter 8, the whole creation groans waiting for the glorious manifestation of the children of God. You want to know what the whole creation is waiting for? Death and resurrection. It wants a new creation, just like we want a new life. No wonder Paul said when he wrote to Timothy, I'm ready.

I'm ready to be offered. He says in 2 Timothy 4.18, the Lord will deliver me from every evil deed and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. Isn't that good? Paul says, I'm looking forward to the day when I die, because when I die, the Lord will deliver me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His kingdom. No wonder he said, I've finished my course. I've kept the faith. I'm ready to go. Get me out. I've had enough.

And some people want to live on this world as long as they possibly can. Titus 2.14 says, He gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession. Oh, let's be who we were supposed to be, right?

I hate sin, not only because of what it did to Christ, but what it's done to Christians. I mean, that would be wonderful to pastor perfect people. Oh, to be a perfect pastor of perfect people. It's tough to be an imperfect pastor of imperfect people, to be a sinful leader of sinful people. Very difficult.

Very difficult. And if I remember what sin does to Christians, I'll grow to hate it. I'll tell you something. The longer you're in the ministry, the more you hate it. The longer you live as a Christian, the more you hate it because you continue to amass a very, very large file on what it does to Christians, how it devastates their lives so that only in death can there be relief.

Well, that's only part of what Peter says here. Let's bow in a word of prayer. Lord, when we see what sin did to Him, when we see what it does to Christians, to us, may we hate it. May we hate it enough to arm ourselves with the same idea that we're willing to die because to die is to be delivered from sin forever. Oh, unimaginable bliss and joy. Father, we thank you for the grace that would even grant such a gift to us as to be forever free from sin. To think of the alternative is to think of an eternal hell, which is the eternal presence of sin and only sin.

Oh, what an unthinkable, horrible thought. Thank you for the grace that has granted us the promise of an eternity where sin has forever ceased. What grace. We thank you in the name of our Lord. Amen. This is Grace to You with John MacArthur.

Thanks for being with us. Today John looked at God's hatred for sin and why we need to hate it too. It's part of John's study titled Breaking Sin's Grip. John, someone tuning in to Grace to You for the first time who has maybe never heard you preach might think it's strange or surprising to hear you talking about sin and going into so much detail about why it's serious, because frankly, the word sin has pretty well been scrubbed from the vocabulary of modern people, including a lot of evangelical churches where you never hear that subject brought up.

That's not been a good trend, has it? No, it's a devastating thing, because you can't get to salvation unless you go through sin. I mean, that's the whole point of the gospel. I've been saying this recently in some of my preaching. If you're going to give the gospel to somebody, you start with the fact that you tell them they need to repent and count the cost of that repentance. That's where the gospel starts. I mean, when John the Baptist showed up, he said, Repent, repent, repent. When Jesus showed up, it was repent, repent, repent. And the message of the gospel is to repent and to repent now and to repent and understand the cost of that repentance is to turn from sin and embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ and enter the lifelong battle of fighting against that natural inclination of sin that has dominated your life before you came to Christ. So if you don't deal with sin in your life, you can't even come to the gospel for the forgiveness that Christ brings. And as a believer, if you say you have no sin, you make God a liar. You're still battling sin. And you have to win that battle on the inside, and that leads me to say this.

I wrote a book some years ago that's had a great impact on people's lives. It's called The Vanishing Conscience. The Vanishing Conscience. Conscience is your aid. Conscience is your helper in avoiding sin. It's a warning system that God has built into you that accuses you when you move in the direction of sin. It's like pain.

Pain warns you you're hurting your body. Conscience warns you you're damaging your soul with sin. The book The Vanishing Conscience explains how sin silences a conscience, what it means to have a weak conscience, how to overcome temptation, all these kinds of things.

We'll look at controversial issues like the victimization of society, the idea that sin is a disease, and so much. The Vanishing Conscience, full book, 280 pages. Take advantage of our reduced prices, 25 percent savings for a limited time. Order your copy of The Vanishing Conscience today. Yes, friend, now is a great time to pick up The Vanishing Conscience or another one of John's books that you've been wanting. To take advantage of our reduced prices, place your order today. Call toll-free 800-55-GRACE or visit our website,

That title again, The Vanishing Conscience. Pick up a copy for yourself or a few to give away when you call 800-55-GRACE or visit Another item I'd encourage you to purchase now while our prices are reduced is Grace to You's flagship resource, the MacArthur Study Bible.

The standout feature? 25,000 footnotes written by John that will help you better understand the historical, cultural, and theological context of each passage. The notes make biblical truth clear and bring your study of Scripture to life. The MacArthur Study Bible is available in New King James, New American Standard, and English Standard versions, and also many non-English translations. Again to order the MacArthur Study Bible, The Vanishing Conscience, or another Grace to You resource, call 800-55-GRACE or go to That's our website, And to keep up to date on all the resources available from Grace to You, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for tuning in today, and join us tomorrow when John shows you how to steer your thoughts toward holiness. Don't miss the next 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-07 15:59:29 / 2023-11-07 16:08:58 / 9

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