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Bible Commentaries

Dunagan's Commentary on the Bible

1 Peter 4


Living For The Will of God: 4:1-2

Former Lifestyles: 4:3-4

Judgment Upon Their Critics: 4:5-6

Outline of 4:7-19:

Living In The Shadow Of Eternity: 4:7-11

Suffer As A Christian: 4:12-19

Introductory Comments:

‘The apostle had told the brethren of Asia Minor that it was better to suffer as well-doers than as evil-doers, and intimated that the dignity and power with which Christ is invested to enable Him to save His people was the reward of His sufferings (3:22). The present chapter is thus begun with an exhortation to his readers to arm themselves with the same resolution of suffer, even death if necessary, for the gospel, which Christ also manifested when He suffered death….for that person who is firmly resolved to suffer death rather than renounce his Lord has freed himself from the dominion of sin…’(Oberst p. 191)

Verse 1

1Pe_4:1 ‘Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,’

‘Therefore’ -Connecting this chapter back to the previous verses concerning the suffering of Jesus (3:18-22). Peter now makes the application that this example should have on those who have been baptized and their conscience’s cleansed.

‘since Christ suffered in the flesh’ -‘suffered in the body’ (TCNT); ‘endured bodily suffering’ (NEB). Points to Note: 1. The word “flesh” does not inherently mean ‘sinful flesh.' 2. The suffering of Jesus was not an illusion, and another being didn’t take His place. Neither did the Divine Jesus depart from His physical body prior to the sufferings. Jesus felt and experienced all the pain that could be inflicted upon His physical body ( 1Pe_3:18 ; Heb_5:7 ).

‘arm yourselves also’ -‘provide one’s self with a thing’ (Thayer p. 449); ‘equip, arm … with the same insight’ (Arndt p. 575). ‘”Arm”…a military term that means “to arm, furnish with arms” (Thayer p. 449). This is something that we must do! Here is a choice. The language indicates that any person can adopt the mind of Christ, if they simply desire to think and act as Jesus thought. Mental preparation is needed to succeed in the Christian life. Unless we are willing to turn our mind and attitude over to God, we will fail ( Php_4:8 ; Mat_6:24 ).

‘with the same purpose’ -‘same resolve as he’ (TCNT); ‘the same determination’(Wms); ‘the same attitude’(Nor). ( Php_2:1-5 ). Points to Note: 1. ‘think as Christ did about obedience and suffering: to be convinced that it is better to do right and suffer for it than to do wrong (cf. 3:17-18).’ (Grudem p. 166) 2. The same readiness and willingness to suffer for God and His kingdom. 2. ‘We do not look for suffering, but are willing and ready, as necessary, to do so.’ (Oberst p. 194) 3. This “same purpose” involves the willingness to suffer without complaint, to endure hardship without grumbling and discouraging everyone else ( 1Pe_2:20-23 ). 4. This “attitude” that we must adopt includes refusing to be intimidated (3:14); giving a good and sound defense (3:15); remaining optimistic and excited about our future (3:15); and refusing to blame God! 5. What a noble incentive for serving God faithfully! We can have God’s attitude! ( Isa_55:8-9 )

‘because’ -further motivation.

‘he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin’ -Points to Note: 1. Does ‘he’ apply to Jesus or Christians? I believe we must apply it to Christians, because the phrase ‘ceased from sin’ doesn’t fit with someone who never did sin (2:22). In addition, we have ‘cessation from sin’ in the following verses (4:2). I guess one could argue that Jesus ‘ceased from sin’ in the sense that ‘He is done dealing with it’, i.e. He offered Himself once for sins. “he has done with sin” (Arndt 638). But that really isn’t completely true. For Jesus continues to make intercession for sinners ( Heb_7:25 ). 2. The following comments are very insightful on the above expression: ‘As a general statement, without qualification, this would not be true, for there are many people who have suffered physically and yet still sin very much. Nor is Peter simply saying that physical suffering somehow purifies and strengthens people---it strengthens some ( Rom_5:3-5 ; Jam_1:2-4 ), but others become rebellious toward God and embittered. Rather, we must read the sentence in the light of the theme of suffering for doing right which is found in the preceding context (3:14; 16-18). The kind of suffering in the flesh which Peter means is defined by 3:17: “For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong.”….The phrase has ceased from sin cannot mean “no longer sins at all”, for certainly that is not true of everyone who has been willing to suffer for doing right…( 1Jn_1:8 ). It rather means “has made a clear break from sin”, “has most definitely acted in a way which shows that obeying God, not avoiding hardship, is the most important motivation for his or her action”. Thus, following through with a decision to obey God even when it will mean physical suffering has a morally strengthening effect on our lives: it commits us more firmly than ever before to a pattern of action where obedience is even more important than our desire to avoid pain.’ (Grudem pp. 166-167)

The ‘sin’ in this verse must be the rule, bondage, habit and practice of sin ( 1Jn_3:6 ; Rom_6:7 ; Rom_6:18 ).

Verse 2

1Pe_4:2 ‘so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.’

‘so as to live’ -‘Peter now explains “ceasing from sin” in more detail. It is for the purpose of living a life governed not by human feelings but by God’s will.’ (Grudem p. 167) Carefully note that suffering, persecution, trials etc…are not excuses for falling into sin. ‘Rather, such times grant to us opportunity for spiritual growth and development. Observe that person who has learned how to keep a strong grip on the Savior in time of great stress and difficulty…’ (Oberst p. 195)

‘live’ -i.e. practice, habit, lifestyle, daily living.

‘the rest of the time in the flesh’ -Thus the statement, ‘suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin’, does not refer to when a Christian dies. The person who has suffered in the flesh, continues to live in the flesh. Points to Note: 1. Being in the physical body isn’t a handicap in resisting temptation or living for God. 2. Our body isn’t our worst enemy, rather sin is something that starts in our thoughts ( Mar_7:20-23 ).

‘no longer for the lusts of men’ -Which presents no middle ground between ‘lusts’ and the ‘will of God’. We are either living a sinful lifestyle or we are living for God ( Rom_6:13-16 ; Mat_6:24 ). One is always living for something or someone. There is no neutral ground between ‘sin’ and ‘God’. Even Cornelius, a good moral person, found himself in sin and lost ( Act_11:13-14 ).

‘lusts of men’ -‘guided not by human passions’ (TCNT). This includes living for self, avoiding pain at all costs, placing momentary physical, emotional or mental comfort as a higher priority than serving God.

‘but for the will of God.’ -Even during trials and hardship, the ‘will of God’ is still an absolute standard for the Christian. Points to Note: 1. Which means that God’s will must be clear and understandable. For we are commanded to live by it. 2. Truth isn’t situational or cultural. Sin remains sin, even when doing the right thing might mean forfeiting your life ( Rev_2:10 ). 3. Breaking from the bondage of sin means so identifying with the will of God, that God’s desire comes your desire. That serving God becomes stronger than the will for momentary comfort or the will to live on in the flesh. See Gal_2:20 ; 2Co_5:14 .

Verse 3

1Pe_4:3 ‘For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.’

‘For the time already past is sufficient’ -‘You have spent time enough in the past’ (Gspd); ‘Surely in the past you have spent time enough’ (TCNT). “Sufficient”-enough, adequate (Arndt p. 107). Points to Note: 1. Whatever amount of time one has spent in sin---that is enough time. You don’t owe the devil anything! 2. Here is the verse for the person who says, ‘I’m not ready to become a Christian, because I haven’t had enough fun yet..’ 3. Also a great Scripture for the Christian who might be toying with the idea of having one last ‘hurrah’.

‘to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles’ -‘in doing as the heathen like to do’ (Gspd); ‘living as the Gentiles delight to live’ (TCNT). Points to Note: 1. There is another ‘will’ that is opposed to God’s will, the will or desire of the Gentiles. In other words, the way of the world, the cultural values of societies which have turned their backs on God ( 1Jn_2:15 ). 2. This suggests that many of these members came from a Gentile background.

‘having pursued a course’ -‘having walked or gone’ (Robertson p. 122); ‘conduct oneself, live’ (Arndt p. 692)

‘sensuality’ -‘unbridled lust, excess…as filthy words, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females’ (Thayer p. 79); ‘absence of restraint, indecency’ (Vine p. 310) ‘living without regard for moral restraint, especially in giving oneself over to acts of sexual immorality or acts of physical violence ( Gal_5:19 ; Eph_4:19 ; 2Pe_2:7 ).’ (Grudem p. 168)

‘lusts’ -‘lustful desires’ (Wms). Impure thoughts ( Mat_7:21-23 ). Hence the importance of guarding the heart or mind ( Pro_4:23 ; Php_4:8 ; 1Pe_1:13 ).

‘drunkenness’ -‘getting drunk’ (Tay). ‘to teem with abundance, to boil over or bubble up, overflow, the excessive, insatiate desire for drink’ (Vincent p. 659) Where there is an abundance of wine.

‘carousals’ -‘excessive feasting’ (Arndt p. 461). ‘Feasts, drinking parties that are protracted long till late at night and overflow into the streets.’ (Thayer p. 367) ( Rom_13:13 ; Gal_5:21 ). ‘Trench states that this word contained both an element of riot and revelry. ‘Komos’ was often used of the company of revelers themselves, always a festal and disorderly company, but not necessarily riotous or drunken. Still, he says, the word generally implies as much…Certainly it is not difficult to find similar acts in our society today. Late-night social events of the world are frequently concluded in a similar fashion, be they parties, dances, or……’ (Oberst p. 197)

‘drinking parties’ -‘a drinking bout’ (Vine p. 170). ‘A drinking party’ (Arndt p. 696). ‘a drinking together, drinking-bout….This word would also be descriptive of a couple or group who competed against one another to see who could drink the most.’ (Oberst pp. 197-198)

Point to Note:

‘the New Testament, by its employment of various terms, seems to imply that drunkenness is progressive and hence, a matter of degree. For example, “methuo” signifies to be drunk with wine, while a related verb, “methusko”, means to grow drunk. The noun “methe” suggests habitual intoxication….In 1Pe_4:3 , three terms are used to depict states of drunkenness or conditions associated therewith….”Winebiddings” (drunkenness) is a drunkenness that marks a step in advance of “methe”….”Revellings”-denotes conduct that is…..consequences of drunkenness…and “carousings”…is a drinking bout, the banquet, …not of necessity excessive…,but giving opportunity for excess.’ (Does The New Testament Justify Social Drinking? Wayne Jackson)

Observations Concerning ‘Social Drinking’:

1. Drunkenness is a progressive state: Eph_5:18 ‘And do not get drunk with wine’: ‘Signifies to make drunk, or to grow drunk (an inceptive verb, marking the process of the drunken state).’ (Vine p. 341) Thus Paul is saying, ‘don’t even start the process.’ 2. Our present day ‘wines’ are not the ‘wines’ that existed in biblical times. The alcoholic content of ancient wine was considerably lower than that of modern wine. All wine in ancient times was light wine, i.e. not fortified with extra alcohol. In addition, such light wines were then diluted with water. The ration was often three parts water to one part wine. The wines that we encounter today, would be considered “strong drink” in biblical terms. Albert Barnes pointed out, ‘the man who drinks two glasses of most of the wines used has taken as much alcohol as if he had taken one glass of brandy or whisky, and why should he not as well drink the alcohol in the brandy as in the wine?’ (Notes on the New Testament. Joh_2:11 ). 3. I read recently that ancient wine (fermented) was about 6% alcohol, and then when mixed with water was about 1.1%. In practical terms: A person in ancient times, drinking such a beverage would have to drink over 22 glasses to equal the person who has two martini’s. 4. Hence when people argue that they only have a glass of wine or a couple of glasses at a meal, in reality (or in biblical terms) they have consumed many more glasses. 5. And I recently read an article which stated, ‘connoisseurs of wine---are quick to point out that moderate amounts of wine can help your heart by lowering cholesterol levels in your blood. Now grape juice lovers can make a similar claim.’

‘abominable idolatries’ -“Abominable”-‘contrary to law and justice, prohibited by law’ (Thayer p. 13). ‘divinely unlawful; lawless, profane, ungodly.’ (Oberst p. 198). ‘lawless acts of idol worship.’ (Grudem p. 169). 1. After the persecution instituted by Nero, Christianity became an illegal religion. In contrast, God labels every non-Christian religion as worship which is contrary to the law of God. 2. ‘Family religious celebrations, guild feasts (the official meeting of trade guilds), and civic festal days might all include such things’ taking place in the temples of the various divinities…’ (Davids p. 151) 3. This also probably includes the various sinful activities which were often associated with the worship of idols. 4. Christians need to realize that idolatry isn’t a thing of the past even in our Western Culture.

Verse 4

1Pe_4:4 ‘And in all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you;’

‘And in all this’ -‘Such behavior was part of the normal life of these Christians before their conversion.’ (Grudem p. 169)

‘they are surprised’ -‘They’-their non-Christians neighbors and former drinking partners. ‘Surprised’-‘they looked with astonishment on the refusal of Christians to participate with them, considering them anti-social, unfriendly, and bigoted.’ (Woods p. 109). ‘surprised, astonished, be shocked’ (Thayer p. 432). 1. Some will be impressed by the changed lives of these Christians, but others will be shocked. 2. Some people become very uncomfortable when you obey God, because suddenly your changed life removes many of their excuses for not obeying God. In addition, the improvement in your life only highlights what is wrong in their lives. 3. A certain segment in the world has always misunderstood the Christian ( Act_17:20 ).

‘that you do not run with them’ -‘run’-‘to rush with, plunge’ (Thayer p. 606). ‘”Run” denotes more than mere association; it indicates eagerness of participation-running with the crowd.’ (Woods p. 109) 1. ‘The phrase…is literally “running with them”, an expression which vividly reflects the frenetic pace of their continually disappointing search for true pleasure…..’ (Grudem p. 169) 2. ‘Run’, suggests that these Christians had formerly been deeply involved in such things. They hadn’t merely been flirting with the previous sins.

‘same excess of dissipation’ -‘Excess’-‘overflowing, pouring out’ (Thayer p. 43). ‘The idea is that these people are unrestrained and therefore engage in a full stream or flood of reprehensible behavior.’ (Hamilton p. 217) ‘Dissipation’-‘an abandoned, dissolute life’ (Thayer p. 82). ‘It means that lost state in which a man is given up to self-indulgence, and saves neither reputation, earthly position, nor his soul.’ (P.P. Comm. p. 171) ‘ refers to uncontrolled indulgence in the seeking of pleasure (the same word is used in Eph_5:18 , and the related adverb is used of the “loose living” of the prodigal son in Luk_15:13… suggests wastefulness, perhaps of both money and of life. The whole picture is one of people rushing headlong toward destruction.’ (Grudem p. 169) ‘violent wasting of life’ (Bas). ‘indicating an empty life-style devoid of salvation or wholeness.’ (Davids p. 152) ‘The waster of his goods will be very often a waster of everything besides, will lay waste himself---his time, his faculties, his powers…’ (Oberst p. 199)

Point to Note: The Christian doesn’t miss out---it is rather the sinner who will waste many valuable things in their life. Sin will cause you to waste youth, talents, intellect, potential, money, time with your mate, parents and children. Next time you see people passing up valuable opportunities to make a good impression upon their children, or to do something that would really improve their marriage, you are witnessing a life that is in the process of being wasted.

‘and they malign you’ -‘to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, accuse falsely and maliciously.’ (Oberst p. 199). Points to Note: 1. When people really don’t have an argument, they often resort to verbal abuse and slander. 2. ‘Why did this happen? No doubt because silent non-participation in sin often implies condemnation of that sin, and rather than change their ways unbelievers will slander those who have pained their consciences, or justify their own immorality by spreading rumors that the “righteous” Christians are immoral as well.’ (Grudem p. 170) 3. This tactic is still used. Homosexual activists claim that Christians lack a real love for their neighbors. Pro-abortion forces claim that Christians wouldn’t lift a finger to help a pregnant teenager, nor would they even think about adopting the “unwanted” children. And the list goes on and on, ‘all Christians are hypocrites’, ‘people outside the church are more honest that the church-goers’. And it is easy for teenagers who are hurting to become convinced that the previous assertions are true. I remember that a common temptation in High School was to believe that the group of kids that drank and smoke were more “real” (more honest, down to earth, they wouldn’t reject you, but rather would stand beside you through thick and thin) than the kids that were living upright lives.

Verse 5

1Pe_4:5 ‘but they shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.’

‘but they’ -Those who are spreading slander against Christians.

‘shall give account to Him’ -( 2Co_5:10 ). Even Christians can at times fall into the trap of trying to downplay the false accusations brought against them. We might say, ‘That former friend is just upset, they really didn’t mean what they were saying.’ But God doesn’t ignore such things. People, yes even hurting people, and people in miserable situations will answer to God for the evil things that they chose to speak ( Jud_1:15 ). The fact that our former friends might be frustrated, depressed or just plain miserable, doesn’t give them the moral right to speak against God’s people. All men are accountable to God.

‘Him who is ready to judge’ -‘Him’-Jesus ( John 5:22-23;28-29 ; Act_17:30-31 ). ‘Ready to judge’-‘suggests the possibility that judgment could come suddenly, without warning.’ (Grudem p. 170)

‘the living and the dead’ -‘a statement which clearly implies that death will not enable anyone to escape judgment, but that all people will consciously stand before God on that day.’ (Grudem p. 170) Points to Note: 1. It also infers that man survives the death of the body, that man does have a soul. If the dead will be judged, then obviously the dead haven’t been annihilated. 2. This also infers that Jesus will judge all men. The presently living and the presently dead ( 2Co_5:10 ). Whether alive or in the tomb, all will answer to God.

Point to Note: Especially for our young people, these verses should give them strength and comfort. Those who pick on them at school will answer to God. Hence, don’t feel sorry for yourself-feel sorry for them! They must answer, not to their parents, the teacher or the principal, but rather, they must answer to God. You don’t have to retaliate, because God is keeping track of all the hurtful things which are being said about you. Learn to entrust the whole situation to God (2:23). And ask yourself, if you find yourself tempted to envy them. In view of 4:5, would you rather be in your shoes or their shoes?

Verse 6

1Pe_4:6 ‘For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.’

‘For the gospel has for this purpose’ -‘This’-refers back to the previous verse and probably refers to the final judgment which is mentioned. The gospel has been preached because there is coming a final reckoning with God and God desires that all would be given a chance to repent ( 2Pe_3:9-10 ).

‘been preached even to those who are dead’ -The ‘dead’ mentioned in the previous verse applies to those who are physically dead. And in view of the last statement in the verse, ‘may live in the spirit according to the will of God’, the dead applies to those who had previously heard the gospel and obeyed it when alive, but were presently dead. 1. Obeying the gospel doesn’t keep you from dying, and neither does it keep you from dying at the hands of persecutors. 2. Often the opponents of Christianity will scoff at the faithfulness and sacrifices made by Christians, because all such hard work doesn’t keep the Christian from growing old, contracting diseases or eventually dying. To ignorant individuals, this is taken as proof that God doesn’t exist or that Christianity isn’t the “way” to God.

‘they are judged in the flesh as men’ -A couple of ideas can be taken from this statement: 1. Even Christians suffer the judgment that comes upon all flesh, i.e. physical death. 2. The expression ‘judged in the flesh as men’, can also be translated, ‘according to the way men are judged’. 3. Some see this expression as referring to the human judgments given in 4:5. Men are judged based on their response to the gospel (while in the flesh), by both men and God. ‘Men upon seeing their response condemn and penalize them will vilification, abuse, and reviling, even to the point of possibly putting some of them to death. Both men and God render a judgment on what Christians do….’ (Hamilton pp. 221-222) ‘While they lived they too were subjected to the evil speaking which Peter’s readers were then suffering; and they, although judged and condemned by ‘men in the flesh’ because of their faithfulness and fidelity to the cause lived according to God in the spirit…’(Woods p. 110)

‘they may live in the spirit according to the will of God’ -‘spirit’-‘Since spirit is without the definite article in the Greek text, it could be translated “in the spiritual realm”…’(Grudem p. 171). 1. These Christians may have been worried about Christians who had died ( 1Th_4:13 ). And we are assured that Christians who die, are none the less living and are enjoying the blessings in the spiritual realm ( Luk_16:25 ). 2. What men do to Christians and what men falsely say about Christians, has no impact in relation to how God lives them. Men cannot touch the soul ( Mat_10:28 ).

Point to Note:

One view of these passages has been that this verse means that the gospel was preached to people after they died, giving them a “second chance” to repent and believe the gospel. ‘But such a meaning does not fit the context: what kind of warning would it be to say that God is ready to judge people for wickedness (v.5) and then add that it really does not matter much what they do in this life for there will be a second chance for them to be saved after they die? Moreover, it could hardly encourage Peter’s persecuted readers to persevere as Christians in the hard path of obedience if the easy road to debauchery could all be renounced and forgiven after they died.’ (Grudem p. 172) In addition, many other passages would contradict such a concept ( Luk_16:26 ; Heb_9:26-28 ; Mat_25:10-13 ).

Verse 7

1Pe_4:7 ‘The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.’

‘The end of all things is at hand’ -‘End’-‘termination, the limit’ (Thayer p. 619); ‘in the sense of termination, cessation’ (Arndt p. 811); ‘the final issue or result of a state or process’ (Vine p. 26-27)

Point to Note: The question has been what “end” is under consideration in the above verses? 1. Some say Peter is speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem. ‘It should be remembered that these words of the apostle were written on the eve of the destruction of the Jewish state. Already terminated as a system of acceptable worship, its forms and ceremonies had persisted through the efforts of unbelieving Jews…Soon the temple, the Levitical system, and the Jewish economy were to perish…Aware that Christianity had its origin with a Jew---Christ-the persecutors of the Jews would not distinguish between them and Christians. It was inevitable that they should suffer in consequence of the doom soon to befall the Jewish state.’ (Woods pp. 111-112) While this is a good explanation, a couple of things concerning this view don’t completely fit. (a) The context is dealing with the final judgment (4:5). (b) Many of these Christians weren’t of Jewish ancestry (2:10; 4:1-4), and they were located far from Jerusalem.

The other view is that the “end” mentioned in this verse is the second coming. But that immediately brings us to the next word. How can Peter say that the ‘end is at hand’ in the First Century and yet almost 2000 years later the ‘end’ still hasn’t arrived?

‘is at hand’ -‘draw or come near, come nigh’ (Thayer p. 164); ‘lit., has come near’ (Vincent p. 662); ‘approach, come near’ (Arndt p. 213). The word is used elsewhere of things that were soon to happen ( Mat_26:45 ; Luk_22:1 ‘was approaching’; Mat_3:2 ).

Points to Note: 1. And yet the word seems to be used in other contexts which refer to the Second Coming ( Rom_13:11-12 ; Jam_5:8 ). 2. It is clear that the apostles understood that certain things had to happen before Jesus arrived ( 2Th_2:2-5 ) Thus we must reject the view which states that the apostles believed that Jesus would return during their lifetime. If this expression refers to the Second Coming, then in this passage ‘at hand’ must mean something like, ‘is approaching’. Grudem writes, ‘means that all the major events in God’s plan of redemption have occurred, and now all things are ready for Christ to return….all the previous acts in the drama of redemption have been completed---creation, fall, the calling of Abraham, the exodus from Egypt, the kingdom of Israel, the exile in Babylon and the return, the birth of Christ, his life, death and resurrection, his ascension into heaven, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit to establish the church…All things are ready: the end of all things (the “goal” to which “all” these events have been leading) is at hand.’ (p. 173) Hamilton devotes a tremendous amount of space researching the background and usage of the phrase translated ‘at hand’. He properly notes that if you lean with the destruction of Jerusalem view, then you must take a limited meaning for the phrase “all things”. If you lean with the Second Coming view, then the phrase “at hand” means something that is drawing near and approaching.

‘therefore’ -Christians living on the edge of eternity, which is also true during times of persecution. For physical death also ushers one into eternity as well as the Second Coming. Living on the edge means living a life dedicated to God.

‘be of sound judgment’ -‘reasonable, sensible, serious, keep one’s head’ (Arndt p. 802). ‘serious and collected’ (Gspd). ‘Steady then, keep cool and pray’ (Mof). ‘thinking about and evaluating situations maturely and correctly’ (Grudem p. 173) ‘The great characteristic of sanity is that it sees things in their proper proportions; it sees what things are important and what things are not important; it is not swept away by sudden and capricious and transitory enthusiasms; it is prone neither to unbalanced fanaticism nor to unrealizing indifference.’ (Barclay p. 298) 1. This is not a time to slip into self-pity or self-indulgence. 2. Neither is it a time to panic or give up. 3. Diligent effort is needed, not carelessness.

‘and sober spirit’ -‘calm, collected in spirit, circumspect’ (Thayer p. 425); ‘well balanced, self-controlled’ (Arndt p. 538); ‘thoughtful men of prayer’ (Tay).

Point to Note: Compare this instruction with the practices of modern religious groups who claim that they know when Jesus is coming. In view of persecution, possible death or the Second Coming, the New Testament never instructs Christians to sell all their possessions, live in a commune, find an isolated location in which to dwell or depart from society.

‘for the purpose of prayer’ -lit., prayers, whether public or private. ‘not the prayer based on daydreams and unreality, nor the prayer based on surprised desperation, but the prayer that calls upon and submits to God …for proper prayer is not an “opiate” or escape, but rather a function of clear vision ….It is only through clear communication with headquarters that a soldier can effectively stand guard.’ (Davids pp. 156-157) The Christian isn’t given the right to ‘panic’. This verse also reveals that spiritual alertness and mental calmness are necessary for our prayers to be effective. ( Eph_6:18 ) ‘When a man’s mind is unbalanced, when he lets his own prejudices run away with him, when his approach to life is frivolous and selfish and irresponsible, he obviously cannot pray as he ought…We only learn to pray when we take life so wisely and so seriously that we begin to say in all things: “Thy will be done”.’ (Barclay p. 299)

Verse 8

1Pe_4:8 ‘Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins’.

‘Above all’ -‘before all things’ (P.P. Comm. p. 172). ‘The phrase does not intend to put love above prayer or being clear-headed, but alerts the reader that what follows is a significantly different topic and underlines love as the most important part of the following four verses.’ (Davids p. 157)

‘keep fervent in your love’ -‘Keep fervent’-‘present active…stretched out’ (Robertson p. 124). ‘intent, earnest’ (Thayer p. 200); ‘have intense and unfailing love for one another’ (Amp). ( 1Pe_1:22 ). The love among Christians must be intense ( Joh_13:34 ; 1Jn_3:16 ). ‘unity with and practical care for other Christians is not seen as an optional extra, but as a central part of the faith…Thus when applied in situations such as this it means not to slack off on love, to keep it going at full force, to be earnest about it.’ (Davids p. 157) A congregation can slack off on love ( Rev_2:4-5 ). Such love is essential! Persecution and difficult times can create problems among a group of people that isn’t close knit. Christians at times fail to remember that it is us against the world. The only place to which we can really turn for comfort and support are fellow-members of the body of Christ. We must display to the world a strong love for our brethren, for the world is watching! ( Joh_13:34-35 ). Who wants to join a group that is bickering? Carefully note that such an intense love is a matter of choice! We do determine how loving the congregation in which we are members becomes!

‘because’ -The reason why fervent love is essential.

‘love covers a multitude of sins’ -‘love throws a veil over countless sins’ (TCNT). ( Pro_10:12 ). ‘Covers’-‘not to regard or impute them, i.e. to pardon them’ (Thayer p. 323).

Points to Note: 1. Carefully note that love doesn’t ignore or downplay sins ( Mat_18:15 ). 2. Rather, love isn’t always looking for sin: ‘But where love is lacking, every word is viewed with suspicion, every action is liable to misunderstanding, and conflicts abound---to Satan’s perverse delight…’ (Grudem pp. 173-174) 3. ‘He is not advocating the ignoring of sin. However, one who is truly, genuinely interested in the welfare of others can see beyond those persons’ sins to the doing of good to them in harmony with the will of God (cf. 1Co_13:4-7 ). …love is able to rise above being wronged and work to the welfare of the sinner.’ (Hamilton p. 239) 4. Love will truly forgive when repentance happens. 4. Fervent love among Christian can prevent future sins from happening, i.e. sins caused by bitterness, strife and envy. 5. Love will give the sinner a chance to repent ( Mat_18:15 ) and love will also pursue the sinner ( Gal_6:1 ). 6. When we have intense love for brethren, we will want to forgive, we will stand ready to forgive.

Verse 9

1Pe_4:9 ‘Be hospitable to one another without complaint.’

‘Be hospitable’ -( Rom_12:13 ; Heb_13:2 ; 1Ti_3:2 ; Titus 1;8 ; 3Jn_1:5 )

‘one another’ -That is to other Christians.

‘without complaint’ -‘displeasure, complaining (more privately than public).’ (Vine p. 93); ‘displeasure expressed in murmuring’ (Arndt p. 164). ‘without resenting the time and expense which may be involved.’ (Grudem p. 174)

Points to Note: 1. Earnest love will find a practical way to express itself. 2. ‘The provision of hospitality was important because of both the limited means of many Christians and the questionable character of such public places as there were to stay in…Thus Peter does not simply call for hospitality…but for it to be offered “ungrudgingly”…aptly captures the quiet “I don’t know why we get all the travelers” or “I wish Paul would move on” whispered in a corner to a spouse when a family was in short rations or its housing cramped due to a visitor. Peter urges the Christians to a level of love that would transcend such negative attitudes; he knows there will be sacrifice, but wants it made with a willing and cheerful heart (cf. 2Co_8:1-24 ; 2Co_9:1-15 ).’ (Davids p. 159) 3. The inns in the First Century were often dirty, places of immorality, gambling and danger. Inn-keepers were often untruthful, dishonest and oppressive. ‘Rooms are not furnished, the traveler must carry his own bedding, provisions, and cooking utensils. Where wild noise and games of chance were indulged in by those who wasted their substance by riotous living.’ (Sketches Of Jewish Social Life. Edersheim p. 50)

Verse 10

1Pe_4:10 ‘As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.’

‘As each one has received a special gift’ -‘Special’-‘originally something freely given: a gift of grace’ (Vincent p. 662). The word rendered “special gift” is used other places to apply to spiritual gifts ( 1Co_12:4 ; 1Co_12:9 ; 1Co_12:28 ; 1Co_12:30-31 ). But it is also used for natural abilities and talents ( Rom_12:6-8 ). Points to Note: 1. Every Christian has at least one talent! 2. Even our natural abilities are manifestations of God’s grace. Concerning the phrase “special gift”, Thayer notes, ‘gift of grace, a favor which one receives without any merit of his own’ (p. 667). 3. We are responsible for the talents which God has given us ( Mat_25:14 ). What are you doing or not doing with your talents?

‘employ it in serving one another’ -‘present active’ (Robertson p. 125). God expects Christians to use their natural abilities to help their brethren and spread the gospel. It is not enough to use such abilities to make a living. They must also be used for others. The same rule applies to spiritual gifts ( 1Co_14:5 ‘….so that the church may receive edifying’; 12 ‘seek to abound for the edification of the church.’).

‘as good stewards of the manifold grace of God’ -‘good administrators of God’s varied grace’ (Arndt p. 560); ‘good trustees of God’s many-sided favour’ (Wms); ‘efficient stewards of God’s varied grace’ (Mof). ( Mat_25:23 ; 1Co_4:2 ; 1Ti_4:6 ). Points to Note: 1. Good stewards will use their talents efficiently and regularly. 2. Each spiritual gift and even each natural ability are manifestations of God’s grace. ‘the grace of God that manifests itself in various ways’ (Arndt p. 683) 2. ‘The Christian must always be under the conviction that nothing he possesses of material goods or personal qualities is his own; that everything he possesses belongs to God; that he must ever use what he has in the interests of God, as God would use it.’ (Barclay p. 303)

An Example Of Using Our Talents:

Verse 11

1Pe_4:11 ‘Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.’

‘Whoever speaks’ -‘Whoever as a Christian engages in speaking about the Lord..’ (Hamilton p. 245)

‘let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God’ -‘let him speak as one who is delivering the oracles of God’ (TCNT); ‘he must preach as one who utters the words of God’ (Mof). ‘It means rather “with the seriousness of purpose which one would use if one were speaking God’s words”’. (Grudem p. 176) ‘As’-‘like as, even as, according as, in the same manner as’ (Thayer p. 680). ‘Utterances’-‘Divine response’ ( Act_7:38 ; Rom_3:2 ; Heb_5:12 ).

Points to Note: 1. When a person assumes the task of teaching or preaching, that person must limit the instruction to what the Word of God states. 2. In the work of teaching and preaching there is no room for speculation or human opinion. 3. Intellect and rhetorical skills are not a substitute for preaching the Word ( 2Ti_4:2 ; 1Co_2:4 ). 4. The phrase “as it were” would indicate that this verse governs the actions of non-inspired teachers and preachers. Which means that a non-inspired person can study the Bible and present the truth fully and accurately ( 2Ti_2:15 ). 5. The truth wasn’t lost with the cessation of inspired speakers.

We must reject the excuse that every preacher is just preaching his opinion. 6. Seeing that every Christian who is teaching is to speak as if God were speaking through them, proves that we can all understand the Bible alike.

‘whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies’ -‘Strength’-ability, might, force. ‘let him do so in reliance on the strength which God supplies’ (TCNT). ‘Supplies’-present tense. ‘furnish abundantly’ (Thayer p. 670) Points to Note: 1. ‘”When you are engaged in Christian service, you must not do it or give it as if you were conferring a personal favor, or distributing bounty from your own store, but in the consciousness that what you give, you first received from God.” Such an attitude preserves the giver from all pride and the gift from all humiliation.’ (Barclay p. 304) 2. The word ‘supplies’, originally meant: ‘To furnish the chorus at one’s own expense; to procure and supply all things necessary to fit out the chorus…then generally to defray the expenses of something.’ (Thayer p. 670/Arndt p. 892) 3. The verse reminds Christians that the success of Christianity isn’t totally upon our shoulders. This isn’t a human movement that rises or falls with human zeal and human effort. God is our supplier! ( Eph_6:10 )

‘so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ’ -‘in all things so act as that the glory may be God’s through Jesus Christ’ (NEB). ‘The aim of everything is that God should be glorified. The preaching is not done to display the preacher, but to bring men face to face with God.’ (Barclay p. 304) ( 1Co_10:31 ; Col_3:17 ; Mat_5:16 ) If one follows the instructions in 4:7-11, then God will be glorified. Glorying God doesn’t happen by accident and we are not left wondering how we can glorify God in our lives.

‘to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen’ -‘to whom’-the last person mentioned is Jesus Christ. ‘Amen’-‘so let it be, truly’ (Arndt p. 45); ‘may it be fulfilled’ (Thayer p. 32). ( Rom_16:27 ; Eph_3:21 ; Php_4:20 ; 1Ti_1:17 ; 1Ti_6:16 ; Heb_13:21 ; 2Pe_3:18 ; Jud_1:25 ; Rev_1:6 ; Rev_5:13 ; 1Pe_5:11 ).

Suffering As A Christian:

Verse 12

1Pe_4:12 ‘Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;’

‘do not be surprised’ -‘present active, “be not amazed”.’ (Robertson p. 126). ‘Surprised, astonished, shocked’ (Thayer p. 432). ‘In the nature of things persecution must have been a much more daunting experience for Gentiles than it was for Jews. The average Gentile had little experience of it; but the Jews have always been the most persecuted people upon earth; persecution has been part of their heritage.’ (Barclay p. 305) Suffering for doing the right thing should never be viewed as a “strange thing”. The Bible is filled with examples of righteous men and women who suffered for serving God ( Heb_11:1-40 ). Jesus said plenty about such suffering ( Mat_5:11-12 ; Mat_10:34 ; Mar_13:9-13 ; Joh_15:18-20 ).

‘at the fiery ordeal among you’ -‘lit., burning, in its later use, smelting, trying metal by fire’ (Alford p. 1662). Denotes grievous persecution (Macknight p. 494) ‘trying, severe, and difficult trials. Fire is painful, but fire is also necessary in the refining process.’ (Oberst p. 211) ( Psa_66:10 ; Pro_27:21 ; 1Pe_1:6-7 ).

Points to Note: 1. ‘Unlike the Jews who had for generations been a foreign and culturally distinct minority…..these Gentile converts had no experience of being a cultural minority. Before their conversion they were perfectly at home in their city. And instead of rebelling against God they had accepted the gospel message. But now they were experiencing cultural isolation and personal hostility….Well might they have wondered if something had not gone wrong.’ (Davids p. 164). 2. These Christians had already suffered (1:6), but it appears that such suffering would become intensified.

‘which comes upon you for your testing’ -‘Comes’-‘present middle, already coming’ (Robertson p. 126); ‘the present participles imply that the persecution was already beginning.’ (P.P. Comm. p. 174). 1. Far from giving us an excuse to be unfaithful, trials test the genuineness of our faith ( 1Pe_1:6-7 ). Anyone can look spiritual during the good times. Contrary to popular opinion, how we react under stress is the real us and not an abnormal or fluke reaction. See Gen_22:16-18 . ‘the trial of man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy, etc…’ (Thayer p. 498)

‘as though some strange thing were happening to you’ -‘as though something unheard of were happening to you’ (Arndt p. 548); ‘as though this were some abnormal experience’ (Phi). ( Mat_16:22 ; Act_14:22 ; 2Ti_3:12 ). Points to Note: 1. God allows suffering to happen, because the benefits far exceed the pain. To have your faith tested is of eternal benefit. 2. Far better to make corrections now, then to be surprised at the judgment day. 3. In view of such passages we need to watch what we say when suffering comes. Let us not speak like the world, or act like an unbeliever and say, ‘Why me?’

Verse 13

1Pe_4:13 ‘but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.’

‘but to the degree’ -‘No, in the degree that you share in the sufferings of Christ’ (Wey)

‘that you share the sufferings of Christ’ -‘Share’-‘have a share in, take part in’ (Vine p. 162). ‘Sufferings of Christ’-The expression doesn’t mean that Jesus left something undone. Rather, it means suffering for His cause, suffering for righteousness (3:17-18).

Points to Note: 1. This is a different perspective on suffering. Suffering isn’t something strange, rather it is a privilege and not a penalty. God actually will allow me to suffer for His cause ( Rom_8:17 ; Php_3:10 ; 2Ti_3:11 ). 2. ‘We cannot return to the hill of Calvary and agonize with our Lord there.’ (Oberst p. 212). Yet, I can have fellowship with Him in suffering.

‘keep on rejoicing’ -‘Instead of being thrown off balance by trials…”In so far as you are sharing Christ’s suffering, keep on rejoicing.” It is amazing to think that increased sufferings seem only to increase the believer’s joy in the Lord.’ (Grudem p. 178). First Century Christians rejoiced when suffering ( Act_5:41 ; Act_16:25 ; Rom_5:3 ; Col_1:24 ; Heb_10:34 ). Walking in His steps includes enduring persecution ( 1Pe_2:21 )

‘so that also at the revelation of His glory’ -‘when the time comes for the manifestation of his Glory’ (TCNT). ‘At his coming with all his holy angels, there will be a radiant splendor visible to all….( 2Th_1:5-10 ; Col_3:4 ).’ (Hamilton p. 257)

‘you may rejoice with exultation’ -‘exultation’-(1:6 ‘In this you greatly rejoice’). ‘triumphantly happy’ (Gspd); ‘you may rejoice and exult’ (TCNT). The final reward will greatly surpass whatever trials we will endure in this life ( Rom_8:18 ). People erroneously think that Christianity will deprive them of happiness or prevent them from finding real happiness. The opposite is true. Everlasting and deep joy awaits the child of God. ( Luk_6:22-23 ; 2Ti_2:12 )

Verse 14

1Pe_4:14 ‘If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.’

‘If you are reviled’ -‘suffering abuse’ (Wms); ‘denounced’ (Mof). ‘A specific example of suffering as a Christian is now given…..Again the verbs suggest continuation over time: “If you are being reproached…you are blessed…”’ (Grudem p. 179)

‘for the name of Christ’ -‘because you bear the name of Christ’ (Wms). Because you are a Christian. ( Mat_5:11 ; Act_5:41 ; Act_9:16 ; Act_21:13 ).

‘you are blessed’ -‘count yourselves blessed’ (TCNT) ( Mat_5:11-12 ). Instead of viewing ourselves as helpless victims, in reality our lot is a happy one, even when we are suffering for righteousness. When the world persecutes the Christian, the Christian is only helped and not hindered.

‘because’ -The reason for the previous statement concerning our blessedness during trials.

‘the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you’ -‘the glorious Spirit of God’ (Gspd). ‘Lit., the “spirit of glory and that of God”. The repetition of the article identifies the spirit of God with the spirit of glory.’ (Vincent p. 663) “Rests”-‘the verb “resteth” is of special significance here, being translated from the same word as thus used in the Greek version of the O.T. of the abiding presence of the Lord. ( Isa_11:2 ).’ (Woods p. 117)

Points to Note: 1. Here is a promise that during trial and hardship, we will not be forsaken ( Joh_14:18 ; Heb_13:5 ; Mat_28:20 ). God is always very near when the child of God is being attacked. 2. This is another way of saying that when Christians are suffering for righteousness, that God’s approval rests upon them. 3. When Christians are suffering for doing right, God is also being glorified. 4. Notice what the text doesn’t say. It doesn’t say that the God removes the suffering and neither does it say that God overrides the freewill of the person who is suffering.

Verse 15

1Pe_4:15 ‘By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;’

‘By no means let any of you’ -‘Let’-Sin is always something that is chosen by the individual.

‘suffer’ -‘Suffering for wrong doing is real also but one receives no approval and happiness from such suffering as one would for suffering, on behalf of, or in the name of, Christ.’ (Hamilton p. 261) ‘Suffering for these things is only receiving one’s “just deserts”…and provides no basis for rejoicing. Rather, weeping, repentance, and prayer for forgiveness would be in order! Act_8:20-22 .’ (Oberst p. 214)

‘murderer’ -Carefully note that all forms of killing are not viewed as murder. God gives the civil authorities the right to punish the evil-doer (2:14; Rom_13:4 ). Nothing has really changed. ‘Human life was lightly regarded in that period and murder was common. Thievery was an especially frequent crime, particularly among slaves.’ (Woods p. 118) Our ‘modern’ society hasn’t been able to liberate itself from either sin. Murder is still common, occurring on a daily basis, even in local metropolitan areas. Shoplifting, employee theft, white collar crime, and so on are still very common.

‘evildoer’ -‘doing evil, a criminal’ (Arndt p. 397); ‘a law-violator’ (Woods p. 118)

‘troublesome meddler’ -‘one who takes the supervision of affairs pertaining to others and in no wise to himself’ (Thayer p. 29). ‘a busy-body’ (Arndt p. 40). ‘or as a spy upon other people’s business’ (Mon). ‘Interfering in matters which do not concern Christians’ (TCNT).

Points to Note: 1. Everything that happens isn’t the business of a Christian. 2. Pro_26:17 ‘Like one who takes a dog by the ears is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him’. This should tell us that every problem among people isn’t our problem. 3. This demands that our intentions are sincere and pure when we are ‘trying to help’. Unfortunately, some are only collecting gossip and juicy tidbits under the guise of trying to help. 4. In light of the practices involved in the discipling movement (telling members where they can live, who they can date, what color of shirt they can wear, how much time they have to spend in prayer, bible study and so on), this verse fits very well.

Verse 16

1Pe_4:16 ‘but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God.’

‘suffers as a Christian’ -‘because he is a Christian’ (Wey). 1. The word ‘Christian’ is only found two others times in the New Testament ( Act_11:26 ; Act_26:28 ). By 64 A.D. the name ‘Christian’ was in common use in the city of Rome (Robertson p. 128). The Greek spelling is ‘Christianos’. The ISBE notes, ‘In early imperial times, the adjectival termination “ianos” was widely diffused throughout the whole empire. Originally applied to the slaves belonging to the great households. It had passed into regular use to denote the adherents of an individual or a party. A Christian is thus simply an adherent of Christ.’ (pp. 621-22) ‘The meaning is of Hebrew origin; it appears in the New Testament in Greek form, with a Latin termination; and points, like the inscription which Pilate caused to be placed on the cross to the world-wide empire which he established.’ (Woods pp. 118-119)

‘let him not feel ashamed’ -Which infers that suffering for the things mentioned in 4:15, one should feel ashamed. ‘he should feel no disgrace’ (NEB). ‘Suffering punishment for being and behaving as a Christian is a totally different matter. There is no disgrace or shame in such suffering nor are they to feel any.’ (Hamilton p. 268) ‘His life and conduct must be the best argument that he does not deserve the suffering which has come upon him. By his general conduct in life, and by his attitude to the suffering he has to bear, he must commend the name he bears.’ (Barclay p. 309) ‘the shame in question being the social disgrace and embarrassment that they might feel keenly on being hauled into court in a small city. Instead of feeling shame, they could hold their heads high.’ (Davids p. 170)

‘He is to regard his religion in every way honorable…he is not to be ashamed of the doctrines taught by his religion; he is not to be ashamed of the Savior whom he professes to love; he is not to be ashamed of the society and fellowship of those who are true Christians…he is not to be ashamed to perform any of the duties demanded by his religion….His views may be regarded as bigoted, narrow, severe…’ (Barnes p. 198)

Again, nothing has changed. Many influential voices in society still try to make the Christian feel ‘ashamed’ for what he or she believes.

‘but in that name’ -‘acting in Christ’s name, as the one who represents Christ to others.’ (Grudem p. 180) The name ‘Christian’ is a designation which we should wear with pride. Notice that ‘Christians’ in the First Century didn’t wear the names of other religious leaders.

Verse 17

1Pe_4:17 ‘For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?’

‘For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God’ -The ‘judgment’ under consideration from the context appears to be the severe trials which are coming upon these Christians. ‘Yet this word “judgment” does not necessarily mean “condemnation”….but is a broader term which can refer to a judgment which results in good and bad evaluations, a judgment which may issue in approval or discipline as well as condemnation.’ (Grudem p. 181) (See 1Co_11:32 )

‘the household of God’ -Which pictures the church as a family ( 1Ti_3:15 ). Which means that the church is an essential relationship. ‘Can one be considered saved if they aren’t a part of God’s family?’ It also infers that what a person must do to become a child of God, is also what a person must do to become a member of the church.

‘and if it begins with us first’ -‘But this fact should not frighten the Christians or cause them to wonder, “Is this what I signed up for?” For if God is hard with the church, how much harder will he be with “those who do not obey the gospel of God?”….The Christians are better off than they appear.’ (Davids pp. 171-172)

‘what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?’ -Points to Note: 1. It is ridiculous to argue that God won’t punish the sinner, in light of the fact that He allows the Christian to be chastened! ‘If the church, which is ever the object of God’s care, is soon to fall into trial and sore persecution, how much greater must be the misery and wretchedness of those who do not rely on the Lord, and are thus without the comforting assurances of the gospel?’ (Woods p. 119) 2. One hasn’t accepted the gospel message until they obey its conditions for salvation. The faith that saves is a faith that will obey. In addition, note that Peter didn’t say, ‘for those who do not love God’. Love of God and obeying the gospel are inseparable ( Joh_14:15 ). Peter didn’t believe that one could love the man but reject the plan.

‘outcome’ -‘final lot’ (Thayer p. 620). It is amazing that religious people who profess to be Christians do not know the answer to this question. Some say, ‘those who reject God have nothing to fear’. Others, ‘God will change His mind’. And then others, ‘The disobedient experience “hell” only in suffering the consequences of their sins in this life. The Bible has a different answer ( Rom_2:8-9 ; 2Th_1:8-9 ).

Verse 18

1Pe_4:18 ‘And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?’

‘And if it is…’ -‘This verse has the same theme, but expressed this time in words taken exactly from Pro_11:31 (LXX)’ (Grudem p. 184)

‘with difficulty’ -‘If the good man is saved only with difficulty’ (TCNT). Points to Note: 1. The way to God is a narrow road ( Mat_7:13-14 ; Luk_13:23-24 ). 2. God allows the righteous person to suffer in this life, even suffering severe trials (Job). Such suffering separates the truly committed from the pretenders. 3. We can have confidence in our salvation ( 1Pe_1:4 ); but we cannot become careless with it! ( Mat_10:28 ; Mat_10:32-33 ). 4. The verse could also mean that our salvation will involve “difficulty” on our part. Remaining faithful to God will involve suffering and hardship. 5. Along the same lines, if life is ‘hard’ for Christians, if even Christians must encounter hardship and difficulty on their path to eternal life, then what fate awaits the sinner?

‘what will become of the godless man and the sinner?’ -‘what chance will the godless have’ (Tay).

‘Someone perhaps remarks, “Would God be so cruel, harsh, and brutal as to let people suffer in the fires of hell?” What shallow insight into the mind and character of Almighty God! He allows His very own children to suffer here on earth----sometimes for years on end! And during those same years, the unconverted are intent “to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” ( Heb_11:25 ). Why, then, would not Jehovah allow the sons of Satan to suffer in the world to come?’ (Oberst p. 219)

Verse 19

1Pe_4:19 ‘Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.’

‘suffering according to the will of God’ -Suffering for doing the right thing. Those who suffer in the pursuit of doing God’s will. Which means that if I am receiving criticism for teaching something not found in the Bible, then I can’t make the claim that I am being persecuted!

‘entrust their souls’ -‘to deposit, intrust, commit to one’s charges’ (Thayer p. 486). ‘deliver into the hands of, and confidently leave’ (Alford p. 1664) ( Luk_23:46 ; 1Pe_2:23 ) ‘to give to someone for safekeeping, to turn over to someone to care for’ (Grudem p. 185)

Points to Note: 1. ‘The word which Peter uses, “entrust”, is a vivid word; …the technical word for depositing money with a trusted friend. In the ancient days there were no banks and few really safe places in which to deposit money. So, before a man went on a journey, he often left his money in the safe-keeping of a friend….The friend was absolutely bound by all honor and all religion to return the money intact.’ (Barclay p. 310) 2. And we entrust our soul to someone or something! Even the unbeliever is entrusting his eternal welfare to someone. It might be his friends or family members who are telling him, ‘Don’t worry, God doesn’t exist’, or, ‘Don’t worry, God is going to save everyone.’

‘to a faithful Creator’ -God can be trusted. And this trust is based on the fact that God doesn’t change. ‘God is faithful indicates that he has not changed nor will change and can therefore be trusted. This is the God in whom one is to rest, although physically threatened.’ (David’s p. 174) ( 2Ti_2:13 ; Heb_13:5 )

‘in doing what is right’ -Endurance isn’t passive! We entrust our souls to God by trusting Him and doing what He has commanded. One hasn’t entrusted their soul to God until one has confidence in what God has said, and enough confidence to apply it to their own lives.

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Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Peter 4". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". 1999-2014.