1 Peter Chapter Four

Holiness Of The Mind

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In our study of 1 Peter chapter four, we look at our call to be holy and how our minds play a big part in our walking the talk. In the previous chapters, we have examined the call but now we will look at the power we have to answer the call as well as some of the effects of doing so.

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1 Peter 4:1

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.

"Therefore" refers us back to verse 18 of chapter 3 and it reminds us that Jesus died for our sins physically but makes us alive by the Spirit. Peter is telling us that, since we were saved from sin and are made alive by the Spirit, our minds should also be transformed to seek the will of God. We are released from sin and God has provided a way for us to live the Christian life (walk the talk). The way to live the Christian life is to turn our minds over to God and the direction of the Holy Spirit. We are done with sin; we do not belong in sinful situations; we cannot be comfortable in them and if we listen to the direction of the Spirit, God will lead us out of those situations. If we are comfortable in sin, we need to check our relationship with Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 4:2

As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

Jesus did not purchase us on the "lay-away plan" He purchased us for the here and now as well as for eternity. Since we are His now and the focus of our minds has been changed, we do not live to satisfy ourselves. Our transformed minds are focused on serving God and doing His will. How do we know His will? We are told, in Ephesians 2:10, that God prepared things for us to do, as Christians, even before we came to be Christians. Listening to the Spirit and watching for these things is a large part of the will of God for the life of a believer.

1 Peter 4:3

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do - living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.

Peter is reminding us here that we are done with all of these things. When we have had enough of carrying the burden of sin, we come to Jesus in repentance and wanting to be done with sin. If we still want to do these things, we need to check our understanding of sin and its effects.

1 Peter 4:4

They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.

Did you lose "friends" when you came to Christ? That is what is being described here as we are told that the world thinks it is strange that we do not do things that dishonor our Lord and Savior. Not only do they think we are strange but we will be persecuted because of it. We are to expect this as Jesus told us that no servant is greater than his master and they persecuted him.

1 Peter 4:5

But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

We must keep in mind that each person will answer for their own actions. Those who do not accept Jesus as Savior and Lord will be judged and sentenced to hell. Those that have chose to accept Him as Lord and Savior will answer for what they did or did not do with the new life that He gave them. This will not be a judgment to determine where we spend eternity but a judgment of what other rewards we will receive.

1 Peter 4:6

For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

This verse reminds us of the mercy of God in that Jesus even went to those that had already perished and preached the message of salvation. God does not want any people to go to hell but He is a just God and, after we hear the Word, we are responsible for it.

1 Peter 4:7

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

We do not know the hour that Jesus will return but we do know that it is closer than ever before. Peter is telling us that, because of that fact, we need to take action. What action do we need to take and why? He says that we need to be focused on God's will (clear minded) and obedient to His word (self-controlled) so that we can pray. This is not talking of a simple pause to say thank you before a meal this is speaking of getting down to business with Jesus. We must continually pray for guidance from God through the Holy Spirit. If we do that, God will be with us and help us through the difficult times that are coming.

1 Peter 4:8

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus said that the first was to love God and the second was to love others (see Matthew 22:34-40). Jesus demonstrated this love when He went to the cross for our sins and that is what it is talking about covering over sins. Our love for Jesus, which is due to the fact that He loved us first, enables us to love others and is a sign that we are saved.

1 Peter 4:9 & 10

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

In verse 8, we were told to love each other and here we see that love is practical and has a purpose. It is practical in that it is given, with a joyful heart, to others to help to meet a need. The purpose is so that we can show God's grace to build up others and let them know about our Lord Jesus Christ. God has prepared these things for us to do (Ephesians 2:10) and so we just have to learn to listen to the prompting of the Spirit and to use our gifts as directed.

1 Peter 4:11

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Peter reminds us here that everything must always be about giving God praise because He is worthy. God provides the talents, abilities, and the strength to do the works He has set before each of us (see Ephesians 2:10).

1 Peter 4:12 & 13

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Got persecution? Good, that is what Jesus told his followers to expect. We should not be surprised at the trials we face here and now as Jesus himself had trials here on the earth. He also said that the servant is not better than his master and so we should expect the same things that He went through. We can, in fact, rejoice in the trials because those trials serve to grow us as well as to testify to our souls that we are His! If you have a story of how God has used persecution to help you to grow, you can share it with us. We will edit and post it to build up other believers in their faith.

1 Peter 4:14

If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

If people are putting you down because of your faith, you can take heart because that means that they can see that you are His. Since you are His, then you know that He is with you and is constantly looking out for you.

1 Peter 4:15 & 16

If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

Not all suffering is the same. If you are suffering because of sin that is the price you pay for your actions but, if you suffer for following Christ, it is good. When we suffer for following Jesus, we can praise God because we are His and others see it or else they wouldn't be persecuting us.

1 Peter 4:17

For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Many will be surprised at this verse and try to explain it away but the fact is that even Christians will be judged by God. Everyone on earth will be judged for salvation and that standard is whether your name is found in the Lamb's Book of Life or not. (Revelation 20:11-15) Then, the believers will be judged for rewards and this is a review of what each of us has done with the new life that we received through Jesus Christ. As Jesus said in many parables, those that have been faithful with a little will be given even more.

1 Peter 4:18

And, 'If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?'

Peter seems to be using Proverbs 11:31 here but with a little different wording. Since it took the Son of God dying for the righteous to be saved, what more is available to save the ungodly? This is similar to what it says in Hebrews 6:6 concerning those who turn their back on Jesus Christ. There is nothing left to save them as "they are crucifying the Son of God all over again".

1 Peter 4:19

So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

When we suffer for following Jesus, we must understand that God is still in control. He is the Creator and therefore has the power to take care of us in any situation. We must commit ourselves to Him and His will for our lives. We can know His will through the Holy Spirit and trust that, if we are in His will, He will take care of us.