For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
Serving for God's Glory
But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Background Text: 1 Peter 4:3-11 in Review:
“Why shouldn’t we suffer for Christ?"
"For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revelllings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries":
Peter reminded the Jewish converts that they needed to arm themselves with the same mind of readiness that Jesus had when He suffered for us in the flesh back in the day, knowing that at the end of His suffering on this earth was death on the cross. Converts were to have the same readiness of mind Jesus had whenever they experience any suffering because of their new religious beliefs, even if the end results of their suffering was martyrdom for their faith in Jesus. They were to change the way they were living and denounce living the rest of their lifetime here on earth catering to lustful desires. They were compelled to totally submitting to the Lord and committing all of their ways unto His will. Peter referred back to Christ’s suffering to remind them that their suffering was indeed because of their faith change from Judaism to Jesus.
Peter said: back in the day, they have spent an enormous amount of time indulging their selves in engaging in wicked propensities (vulgar habits and traditions they were use to) and embracing these lewd acts for the “pleasures” they sought to derive from them. He further stated: We should hereafter live in a different manner than that of the Gentiles, men who lived based lives of “common indulgences” but first, realizing living a life of lasciviousness was never the proper way to live. At a some point when we all got our fill of whatever we were doing openly and in the cloak of after-hours and were ready to let it go and try something else, we would eventually say, "We have had enough of these things; we have tried them; We got out of the experience all we wanted of felt all we can get from it. Logic finally kicked in here and the conclusion we came to was: There is no reason why we should indulge in them anymore”..
God's Response: The Wrath of God Comes Against the Sinful Indulgences of Men.
The Literal truth: The Jews were doing many of the same things the Gentiles willed in their hearts and mind to do. All of what they did was expressed, in their character and conduct. The Jews, against the will of God lived the same type of sinful pagan social lives as they did and many of them expressed the same rebellious attitudes their counterparts did.
The Apostle Paul like Peter was moved by the Holy Spirit and wrote out God’s indictment on the whole world in Romans 1:21-32. Paul explained how God responded to their “indulgences”. (Lusts)
"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:”
Here revealed in this passage the practical tendency toward paganism to unbelievers of Jesus Christ and the living of life under true Christian principles. Heathenism is not an innocent and harmless religious system, but in lifestyle and practice results in the most gross and shameless acts of moral and spiritual depravity. There is absolutely "nothing" harmless about any pagan religion. Many cult practices and beliefs show a gross disregard for moral decency; their followers worship in "Monotheism" (the worship of multiple idol gods) and their followers exhibit explicit immoral and unmoral behavior in the name of worship and offering sacrifices to their gods.
Paul said in the above passage because they were unwilling to retain Jehovah God in their knowledge, and chose to worship idols, God gave them up. God turned them over to a reprobate mind. This meant God either abandoned them altogether, or he ceased to restrain their lustful and insidious desires, and permitted them to act out their sentiments, and to manifest them in their life.
Understand this did not mean that God encouraged them to sin or endorsed them, any more than if we attempted, to restrain a headstrong youth from misbehaving, and when none of our effort would prevail, we’d leave him alone to act out his misbehaviors and do what he choose to do to his ruin. God simply stopped hindering their efforts and let their sinning become the catalyst for their ultimate ruin.
There are several important points implicated in this:
(1) There is the tendency of man to gravitate toward indulgence in these sins;
(2) There is an underlining tendency of idolatry was to promote them; and
(3) All that it took, for the people to desire to commit them, was for God to remove is hand of restraint on them, thus allowing them to follow the wicked devices and evil desires of their own heart (Psalms 81:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:10 and 12)
Paul expressed this while writing to the Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome.. The above in comparison to what the Apostle Peter wrote to Hebrew and Gentile converts in the region of his ministry spoke to the same dilemma brought on by persecution to further emphasize to the reader of this lesion the imperative of totally distancing yourselves from the “former life” of living like a “heathen” and embracing fully the new life you now have in Christ Jesus.
Peter in review brought up another fact: the fact they had been guilty of excessive drunkenness
Multitudes of those early converts who became Christians had been drunkards, for intemperance abounded in all the pagan world, as well as revellings which meant feasting, revel; a carousing or merrymaking after supper, whereby the guests often run into the streets, and going through the city with torches, music, and songs in honor of Bacchus (Dionysus) All such noisy and boisterous processions that after their conversion experience now were completely inappropriate to the Christian believer of that day. (Romans 13:13)
Observe what Paul admonished the converts in Rome to do in response to the same thing:
“Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
As converts in Jesus Christ, the Jews and Gentiles both were to avoid these also:
Banquetings: commonly known as “drinking parties”. These kinds of parties start with the act of drinking; then the “act” escalates to a drinking bout. Banquets of themselves aren’t forbidden. What makes a banquet forbidden in the eye of the Lord is the assembling together for the purpose of drinking alcoholic beverages.
It is improper for Christians to meet together anywhere for the purpose of drinking especially if the consummation of alcoholic beverages are understood to be the main objective. It would be forbidden, to be in attendance on all those celebrations in which drinking toasts is understood to be an essential part of the festivities, and all those where hilarity and joyfulness are sought to be produced by the intoxicating bowl Such are not proper places for Christians.
Abominable idolatries- The fact that there were many who became Christians that were guilty of these before their conversion is clear from this passage. The fact that they were converted shows the power of the gospel, and also that we should not despair in regard to those who are indulging in these vices now. They appear to be almost hopeless, but we should remember even in today's society that many who became Christians when the gospel was first preached, and since then exemplified this character.
“Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.”
That is, the same people who were partners and accomplices in the indulging of your wicked vices now find it strange that you no longer associate with them. They don’t understand the reasons why you have left them. In their carnal debased mind, they see you now as abandoning what’s to them the “good” life of letting loose and letting go; partying to take the edge off in favor of chasing “religious superstition”.
They see what you did as a strange and unaccountable thing you have done by giving up the “world’s pleasures” to follow a course of life that seems to promise anything but happiness. They say you are crazy and delusional.
Well don’t feel bad about what they say about you. Even Jesus’ brothers and sisters thought Jesus was” beside himself,"( Mark 3:21), and more so, Governor Festus responded to Paul’s testimony of the Gospel as madness. (Acts 26:24).
In truth, the people of the world understand very little the reasons why those of us who are converts of Christ how the Gospel message has such an influence on us that we can abruptly leave the circles of gaiety and vanity, and to give ourselves to the serious embracing of religion, especially embracing Christianity. Peter went on to say:
They respond to your decision to change by labeling you as fools, enthusiasts, and fanatic. For those of us who have made the full commitment to Christ, here’s the reason your critics feel the way they do about what you did:
(1) They don’t appreciate the motives of God which were very instrumental in influencing you to leave those wicked vices and separate and come out from among them and from the places you indulged in those things.
They believe there is nothing wrong with enjoying the vices of this secular world, vices they believe in indulgence make life cheerful. They don’t understand or yet know what it feels like to act under a deep sense of responsibility to God, or to consider their future in eternity. They live for themselves for the “now’ moments. They, like the Epicureans of Paul’s day seek happiness and pleasure as both the end and aim of life. They’re not accustomed to directing their mindset away from pleasure seeking to realize the truth about what happens to them after they die in this world. Many haven’t realized they must give in account the things they do in this life and stand before a holy God in judgment. They cannot appreciate the change in conduct of those who now begin to live and act for eternity, because they believe you should still believe as they believe and continue to do what they are still doing.
(2) They do not see the guilt and folly of sinful indulgences yet.
They’re not convinced of the deep sinfulness of the human soul, and they believe that neither one of you should abandon this indulgences which in their mind is innocent. They don’t see why the people who have been so accustomed to involving themselves in these indulgences before their change would have a change of heart and opinion and now regard these very things as sinful that they once considered to be harmless.
(3) From a personal belief standpoint, they don’t see the force or validity of the argument for pure religion.
They don’t share the same views concerning the importance of religious truth and the duty which Christians now have to Christ. So they continue to live and indulge. Many of them regard the Christians behavior and conduct as amiable weakness. Sometimes they regard it as superstition. Other times it’s viewed as sheer folly, as madness, as sourness and misanthropy. In all respects they esteem it strange:
“For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”
For, for this reason, the gospel was preached to the dead that they might be judged. Conversely, for this cause was the Gospel preached to them that were dead; that they who live according to men in the flesh, may be condemned; but that they who live according to God in the Spirit, may live."
The people (Judaizers) judged them severely, and put them to death for their "new" religion; God gave them life, and saved them. By the one (Adam) they were condemned in the flesh-so far as pain, and sorrow, and death could be inflicted on the body; by the other (Jesus Christ) they were made to live in spirit-to be his, to live with him. Because of Christ, they would not be condemned. By Him they would be made to live-to have the true life. The gospel was preached to them in order that as far as God was concerned, as far as their relation to him was concerned, and as far as how he would deal with them, they might live no longer dead in spirit, but have spiritual life imparted to them by their testimony of Jesus; The result of this allows them to now live a life of holiness in this world, that they might live eternally with Christ in the world to come.
In one respect, as far as people were concerned, their embracing the gospel was followed by death; that is death to the way they were living in their sins and trespasses. In another respect, as far as God was concerned, it brought life in their souls, as contrasted with their body. In respect to living according to the flesh, they were put to death; in respect to their souls-their higher natures-they were made truly to live.
The premise or point raised in this verse is: in the trials which we endure on account of the Christian religion, we should remember the example of those of the past who have suffered for it, as well as why the gospel was preached to them initially. It was in a subordinate sense done that they might glorify God by dying a martyr's death. But in a higher sense, it was done that in this world and in the world to come, they might truly live. Even though the flesh might suffer the consequences of them embracing the gospel that was preached to them, the soul would live. In light of their example, as Christians, we should be willing to suffer in the flesh as they did, so we too may live with God (Christ) forever.
"But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."
This verse is designed to support and encourage them (and us) in our persecutions and trials. This verse was also designed to excite them (and us) to lead a holy life, with the assurance that the end of all things was drawing near. Peter was referring to the coming judgment from Christ at His second coming. So this refers to the end of the world (age), Therefore be serious; thoughtful and considerate. Let a fact of so much importance make a solemn impression on your mind, and preserve you from frivolity, levity, and vanity. Be on the lookout for the end of all things in such a way as to lead you to embrace all proper opportunities for prayer.
Matt 26:39 Matt 26:41.
The important truth, then, taught by this passage is, "that the nearing approach, of the end of all things should make us serious and prayerful."
(1) This is true of all things of the winding up of the affairs of this world. The end of the world is constantly drawing nearer and nearer, day by day. No one can tell how soon it will occur. Jesus said no man knows the day nor the hour the Son of Man Comes. The period is wisely hidden from the knowledge of all people,( Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7,) among other reasons, in order that we may be always ready. No man can tell certainly at what time it will come. No man can demonstrate that it may not come at any moment. Everywhere in the Scriptures it is represented that it will come at an unexpected hour, as a thief in the night, and when the mass of people shall be slumbering in false security.(Matthew 24:37-39,42-43; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; Luke 21:34.)
(2) It is near in relation to each one of us. The day of our death cannot be far in the distant. It may be very near. The very next thing that we just might do, may be to lie down and die. It is proper that having knowledge of such a nearness of the end of all things should lead us to be serious, and to pray.
(a) To be serious because the end of all things, in regard to us, is a most important event. It closes our probation. It fixes our character. It seals up our destiny. It makes all ever onward in character and doom unchangeable.
(b) We are so made as to be serious in view of such events. God has so constituted the mind, that when we lose property, health, or friends; when we look into a grave, or are beset with dangers; when we are in the room of the dying or the dead, we are serious and thoughtful. It is unnatural not to be so. Levity and frivolity on such occasions are as contrary to all the finer and better feelings of our nature as they are to the precepts of the Bible.
(c) There are advantages in seriousness of mind. It enables us to take better views of things (Ecclesiastes 7:2-3) A calm, sober, sedate mind is the best way for a contemplation of truth, and for looking at things as they are, to be watchful unto prayer. People naturally pray when they suppose that the end of all things is coming. It is proper to do it.
Death is an important event. Hebrews 9:27 declares: "As it is appointed unto men once to die and after death judgment so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation."
In anticipation of such an certain and life changing event, we should pray. Who can help us then but God? Who can conduct us through the dark valley but he? Who can save us amidst the wrecks and ruins of the universe but he? Who can dissipate our fears, and make us calm amidst the convulsions of dissolving nature, but God? As that event, therefore, may come upon us at any hour, it should lead us to constant prayer; and the more so because, when it comes, we may be in no state of mind to pray. The position in which we should feel most appropriate to be found in when the “Messenger” of death should find us, would be in prayer.
The Next thing Peter said to them was:
“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins”.
More than all things else have fervent (earnest) charity (love) among yourselves! You should have warm, ardent love toward each other. On the nature of charity, The word "fervent," means properly extended; then intent, earnest, fervent.(1 Corinthians 13:1) “For charity (love) shall cover the multitude of sins”.
When you show love toward one to another, that love will cover or hide a great many imperfections in someone else so much, you will not notice any of them. The following passage is quoted from Proverbs 10:12: "Love covers all sins." For the truth of it we have only to appeal to the experience of everyone: True love toward one another makes us kind to their imperfections. It makes us charitable toward their faults, and often blind even to the existence of any faults. We would not see the imperfections of those whom we love; and our attachment for what we esteem to be their real qualities, makes us insensible to their errors. If we love them we are ready to cover over their faults, even those which we may see in them.
“Use hospitality one to another without grudging”. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
We are to show hospitality toward each other "without murmurs; that is, without complaining of the hardship caused by doing it if any; or of the time spent, the expense paid, and the trouble (inconvenience) required in doing it. It is that we are to do it without murmuring or complaining. It greatly enhances the value of hospitality, that it be done on our part with cheerfulness. One of the duties involved in it is to make a guest happy; and this can be done in no other way than by showing him that he is welcome.
Hospitality is a gift render to us by the Holy Spirit. In truth, any gift the Holy Spirit endows upon the believer is designed to aid us in doing good things for and to others.
It does not refer here particularly to the ministry of the word-though it is applicable to that, and includes that-but to all the gifts and graces by which we can contribute to the welfare of others. All this is regarded as a gift, or charisma, of God. It is not owing to ourselves, but is to be credited to Him. Even so minister the same one to another. In other words, in anything by which you can share that will benefit another. Regard what you have and they have not as a gift bestowed upon you by God for the common good, and be ready to impart it as the needs of ethers require.
The word "minister" here refers to any kind of ministering, whether by counsel, by advice, by the supply of the needs of the poor, even preaching. It has here no reference to any one of these exclusively; but means, that in whatever God has favored us more than others, we should be ready to minister to their needs. (2 Timothy 1:18; 2 Corinthians 3:8; 8:19-20).
“Regard yourselves as the stewards of God; as having been appointed by him to do this work for him, and entrusted by him with what is needful to benefit others”.
The grace or favor of God evinced in many ways, or by a variety of gifts. His favors are not confined to one single thing; as, for example, to talent for doing good by preaching; but are extended to a great many things by which we may do good to others-influence, property, reputation, wisdom, experience. All these are to be regarded as his gifts; all to be employed in doing good things to and for others as we have opportunity. The Lord intends to do good things for them, but the means He employs to do it is through you and I. God has entrusted to all of His servants as a stewards what he designed to confer on them. This is in respect to any special endowments of talent, property, or grace, which we may have received from God. (1 Corinthians 4:1-2 Luke 16:1-2 Luke 16:8.)
“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen”.
This verse is in reference to the minister/teacher , referring here particularly to the office of the ministry.
Let him (the minister) speak as the oracles of God, in accordance with the truth which God has revealed, as endowed by the Holy Spirit to speak the oracles of God with an impressive sense of the responsibility of delivering a message from him. The “oracles” of God refers to message uttered by God in-a divine communication a revelation unknown by man spoken by God now revealed to man by God’s ministers. Romans 3:2, Hebrews 5:12
Every minister should "minister according of the ability which God giveth,". Every ability given to those of us who minister has limits in what they are capable of doing, yet we are to maximize the abilities the Lord endows us with. We are to use each gift to its capacity.
The word “minister” also may refer to any aid which we render to others in the church, as distributing alms, attending on the sick, etc. (Romans 12:7-8). This is the limit of all our obligations. No one is bound to go beyond his ability; everyone is required to come up to it (Mark 14:8; Luke 17:10.)
That God in all things may be glorified…
That God may be honored by our doing all the good we can to render aid to others, through Jesus Christ and showing the power of his religion. (1 Corinthians 10:31.) The apostle says that in all things God is to be glorified by us, and then adds in this doxology that he is worthy to be thus honored. (Revelation 1:6; 2 Timothy 4:18.)
Dr. William Edward Boddie