1 Peter 4:1-11
Live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions, but in the will of God.
Decide to pay the cost of discipleship
Jesus warned his disciples about the response of the world to their decision to follow him: “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20). Sometimes the cost of discipleship is being maligned; sometimes it is being martyred. Since Christ suffered, Christians must be resolved to suffer whenever and however necessary.
Decide to be done with sin
When we were baptized, we were cleansed from sin and left it behind. Sin was a part of our former life, but we do not have time for it any more. Our purpose in our new life in Christ is to do the will of God.
However, sinners love company. Those still practicing the impulses of the flesh entice us to join with them, do not understand when we decline, and malign us for our stand.
Decide to live
People who live sin and heap abuse on those who do not join them, will be held accountable in judgment. The wages of sin is death. Yet, in every age (“even to those who are dead” 4:6), God has offered the prospect of life. If we live for God now, we will live with God later. It is appointed for all to die and after than comes judgment. (Heb. 9:27). Though we all die a physical death, we can still “live in the spirit the way God does.” (1 Peter 4:6).
Decide to love
Remember that 1 Peter 4:1 called disciples to cease or be done with sin. In 4:8, Peter writes that disciples “above all” are to “keep on loving one another earnestly since love covers a multitude of sins.” A close knit Christian community may suffer abuse for outsiders (Gentiles, 4:3), but a fervent love within community leaves no room for sin, and quickly forgives sin should it occur. It binds the community together.
Decide to glorify God with your gifts
Bless one another with hospitality. Serve one another as we are able. Speak the truths of God to one another. Our abilities come from God, to serve all the people of God, bringing glory to God.
For enlightenment and discussion:
What does ceasing or being done with sin look like in our lives?
Who was Peter calling “Gentiles” in 4:3
How descriptive of our present culture is the sin list in 4:3?
Why do people practicing sin urge others to join them, act surprised when others do not participate, and then slander them for not joining in? Have you seen that in your experience?
Peter writes about a day of judgment and end of all things. Is that a good or bad thing? Is it really “at hand”?
How does hospitality build community? In the context of 1 Peter, why is a close, loving community important for Christians?