-Peter tells us to arm ourselves with the same way of thinking as Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) with regards to His attitude toward suffering in the flesh according to the Lord’s will. This suffering allows us to cease from sin and enables us to live our lives no longer in the human passions of sensuality, sexual immorality, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry (1 Peter 4:1-3). The people of the world are surprised when you do not join them in this debauchery and they make fun of you for it; however, they will give an account to the Almighty Judge for their actions (1 Peter 4:4-5). This is why the gospel is preached, even to those who are dead, so that they may live in the spirit in the same manner God does, even though the flesh will inevitably be judged (1 Peter 4:6). This verse can be interpreted a couple of different ways. One view has been to say that Christ has preached in the underworld, probably during His time of death before the resurrection. The other view, and the one I prefer, is simply that we are dead in our trespasses and sin until we hear the gospel and receive the new-spiritual birth that only Christ can give. This compliments the rest of Scripture more accurately in my opinion. We are all going to be judged in the physical because of sin, which produces physical death. We are dead spiritually as well until we receive the Spirit of God into our lives through Jesus Christ’s work on the cross (1 Corinthians 15:22). When we receive His new life, we awake spiritually speaking as a new creation destined for glory (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15). *Application* The new life in Christ frees us from the enticements of this world. When we receive Christ, He gives us a new heart, a new mind, and a new will. Our desire, in Him, is to follow His ways and do the same things He did by the Holy Spirit that indwells us. This includes the endurance in suffering, which Peter expounds upon here, for the believers who were going through trial and tribulation. These are normal aspects of the Christian life and should be embraced because they draw us closer to God in dependence and help us cease from sin. Amen!
-Since the end of all things is at hand, we are instructed to be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of praying fervently unto the Lord (1 Peter 4:7). Above all, earnest love is to be demonstrated, which covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Christians should show hospitality without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9). As each of us has received a spiritual gift according to God’s varied grace, we should employ them for the building up of the body of Christ, which is the church. This gives Jesus His proper glory and dominion (1 Peter 4:10-11). *Application* This is good Christian instruction with some time honored virtues and themes. When we display these qualities, we will be growing in Him and the world will notice the difference Christ makes in us (2 Peter 1:4-11).
-Peter returns quickly to the theme of suffering as believers in Christ Jesus. He says, through the Holy Spirit, not to be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you for the purpose of testing (1 Peter 4:12). We are to rejoice and be glad in these times of testing because it allows for Christ’s glory to be revealed over and over again (1 Peter 4:13). Insults and persecutions for the Name of Christ bless us because the Spirit of God rests upon those enduring that condition (1 Peter 4:14). Suffering as a wrongdoer is another scenario and is not recommended (1 Peter 4:15), but there is no shame is suffering as a Christian for the right reasons and we should give God glory (1 Peter 4:16). Judgment begins at the household of God and refines us for His Kingdom so that we will not be judged along with the world of unbelievers. Because of this we can entrust our souls to a faithful Creator while continuing to do good with perseverance (1 Peter 4:17-19). *Application* There is a reason for all the tough times and things you go through as a believer who is totally yielded to God. When we go through trials, it is a time of introspection and evaluation. Sometimes we need to repent of sins and allow the Lord’s discipline and refining work in us to purify. This is good and profitable for all. At other times we can rejoice that despite our virtuous life, God has allowed us to partake of the sufferings of the Savior (Philippians 3:10). This conforms us to His image more and more and makes us a better reflection of Him to this lost world. Never is it easy, but it is rewarding (1 Peter 5:10). Rejoice in suffering because God is at work in it to bring about a better you for His glory!
Verse to Memorize: 1 Peter 4:9-10, 12, 19