In 1Peter chapter 4 Peter continues giving us instruction and warning. We read in chapter 3 that The Lord's face is "against those who do evil" and Peter is going to go even further in detail as to what the person that the Lord turns His face against looks like. But first, he commands us to "arm ourselves".
"Arm ourselves" with what?...'"the same way of thinking". Then the question becomes, what thinking?
1Peter 4:1 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,
As I am writing this it occurred to me that we discussed in the last post that many times trials are according to God's Will. Trials and suffering that draws us closer to God also brings us further away from sin. We will no longer live in the flesh, desiring to feed the lusts of the flesh, but we will instead have a desire to pursue God's will in our life:
1Peter 4:2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.
Then Peter gives us a short list of some ways that men feed their flesh, that is clearly outside of God's will:
1Peter 4:3 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.
When a person commits most of their life perusing the things listed in verse 3, they will have no problem finding people to "join in the fun". However, when that same person gets saved and is born-again, those same "friends" will no longer want anything to do with them when they leave their life of sin, and they will even regard them with envy and malice.
1Peter 4:4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;
Peter quickly follows up with a clear warning to those that do not repent of their wickedness:
1Peter 4:5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
The next verse can easily be misinterpreted; however, Scripture always supports Scripture. So if something "seems" to be being said, yet contradicts the rest of God's Word, what it "seems" to be saying, isn't actually what it is saying. By that, I mean, verse 6 at a glance seems to suggest that the Gospel is preached to those that have died condemned, seemingly offering a second chance to be redeemed. Since this clearly contradicts the rest of God's Word, verse 6 must be referring to the Gospel being preached to those that heard and received the Gospel when they were alive, but have since died:
1Peter 4:6 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.
Before we continue with the next few verses, stop to consider that the theme throughout the Word of God is to trust God and glorify Him in all you do. This "theme" does not change in the entire Bible, yet it is written by several different authors, on different continents, by men with different backgrounds. When you always consider this truth the Bible will continue to amaze you, rather than have you thinking, "yea, I've heard that over and over again." The fact that you hear it "over and over" again demonstrates the divine nature of His Word, and further demonstrates God's desire to emphasize its importance. This emphasis is:
1Peter 4:8-17 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 11 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. 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
When I first started my business (long before I was saved) I listened to motivational tapes and one of my favorite speakers instructed his listeners to do morning and evening proclamations in the mirror. In hind site, those proclamations were done for the wrong reason. As I am finishing todays post I couldn't help but think what a daily proclamation for a Christian should look like in light of this chapter. Here's what I came up with:
"Today I will love earnestly. I will not feed the lust of the flesh, I will instead serve others humbly, that Jesus Christ may be glorified in all I say, think and do. I know that trials are part of God's plan to test my faith and I am committed to glorifying Him and rejoicing in the trials and sufferings. I will obey The Gospel, and I will be obedient to God's Word knowing that when I am insulted for the name of Christ I am blessed."
When I did my "success" proclamations way back when, it was entirely a work of the flesh. Where as we would do well to make the above proclamation daily, for all of these things to manifest themselves in our life would take a work of the Spirit. So lift them up to The Lord and plead with Him to regenerate you and make you a new creation, just as He promises to those that earnestly seek Him.