1 Peter 4:1-11

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Observation

  • Christ suffered physically.
  • We are to think as Christ.
  • Whoever suffers in the flesh with Christ has ceased sinning.
  • After suffering with Christ the rest of our lives are lived for the will of God.
  • After suffering the rest of our lives are not lived for human passions.
  • Gentiles what to live in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.
  • People are surprised when we do not join them in debauchery.
  • People malign you when you do not join then in debauchery.
  • Those who commit debauchery will give an account to God.
  • God is ready the judge both the living and the dead.
  • The reason Christ preached the gospel to the dead was because God will judge them.
  • Christ preached the gospel to the dead so that even those who lived physically live for physical thing. Now they might live in the spirit for God’s will.
  • The end of all things is at hand.
  • We are to be sober-minded and self-controlled for the sake of our prayers.
  • We are to love each other earnestly above all.
  • Love covers a multitude of sins.
  • We are to be hospitable to each other and not grumble about it.
  • We have all received a gift.
  • We are to use our gift to serve each other.
  • We are stewards of God’s grace.
  • When we speak we should speak as if we are saying the words of God.
  • When we serve, we are to serve with all the strength God has given us.
  • In everything we do Jesus Christ is to be glorified.
  • Glory belongs to Jesus Christ.
  • The right to govern and all sovereign authority belong to Jesus Christ.

Interpretation

There are three keys to biblical interpretation they are context, context, and context. Chapters and verses were added many years after Peter’s letter. So they are not part of the original text. Sometimes the chapter and verse breaks inhibit the understanding the context, as is the case with the beginning of Chapter 4. Taken out of context it would be easy to think that Peter says the any suffering would bring about righteousness. However, at the end of chapter 3 Peter is taking about Christ’s suffering and how our baptism unites us with Christ. Peter in not saying that suffering is character-building. Nor is he saying that our individual suffering brings about righteousness. When the statement is placed in context, it clearly indicates Peter is thinking of the union of the Christian with Christ in His suffering and through our baptism.

Since we are united in Christ we are no longer to live as pagans. Rather we are to live to glorify God. And Peter outlines the way we are to no longer sin. First, we are to renounce the things that the world loves. And Peter gives a short list of examples, sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. The world sees nothing wrong with these things. We are even belittled for not taking part in them. Second, we should study to know God’s will so we can conform to God’s will.

Peter’s reference to preaching to those who are now dead is a reference to those who were Christians and had died prior to the receipt of his letter. They were dead physically but alive to God in the spirit. The grace of God extends even to us even once we are physically dead.

We will all die. Our lives are very short. We tend to forget this. We think we will live a long time. This leads us to carelessness and laziness. Peter reminds us that “the end of all things is near” to jar us back into reality. Not only will we pass away physically but the world itself will end.

Many mock that Peter said the end and 2000 years later is not hear. The time seems long to us because we measure time by the space of our lives. However, when we place it in relation to eternity all these year appear but a moment. Peter says this in his second epistle.

Peter tells us to love above anything else. This is a common theme in scripture. How do we glorify God? By loving each other. How do we demonstrate our love for God? By loving each other. How do we fulfill the will of God? By loving each other. (Prov. 10:12; Matt. 18:21,22; 1 Cor. 13:4–7; James 5:20) The love we express covers a multitude of our sins. This is not to say that our expression of love saves us. Nor does is Peter saying our love is compensation for God’s forgiveness. Rather our love is an expression of our gratitude of God’s love.

Peter tells us to serve each other as stewards of God. The skills and ability, the material possessions are all gifts from God. We are stewards of these things and as stewards we are to use them in the service of others rather that for ourselves.

It is God who gives us strength to do or say anything. Therefore, all we do and say should be done as if from God. Everything we do should be to glorify Jesus Christ.

All glory and honor be long to Him.

Application

The world mocks and belittles Christians, and many times justly so. Often we do not live as if we truly believe what God has said. That deserves mocking. However, the world will also mock and belittle us when we live in God’s will. We should not be surprised at that. We are promised suffering in this world.

But we are to love regardless. When we love we demonstrate God’s love. The love we give does not even come close to the love God has given us. But we are to love because that is how we bring glory to God. When we are mocked, those doing the mocking will be brought to shame. As Peter said in chapter 2:12 “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Get Free Weekly Bible Studies

Go Deeper into the study of God's word. Receive FREE weekly Bible studies.