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Bible Commentaries

Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament
1 Peter 4

 

 

Verses 1-11

Why we do what we do

1 Peter 4:1-11

1 Peter 4:1. ‘Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh.’ The eternal, holy, Son of God took upon himself the likeness of sinful flesh and suffered reproach, indignities, the curse of the law, the wrath of God, and even death for us.

‘Arm yourselves with the same mind.’ As he suffered for you, be prepared to suffer whatever persecution, reproaches, and self-denials you may be called upon to suffer for righteousness sake, for the sake of him and his gospel.

‘He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.’ Two true implications are given here.

1. Christ, who bore our sins in his body, suffered for them, and died for them, is now clear of these sins. The sins imputed to him (for which he made satisfaction) are gone! In Christ, we are justified and freed from the charge of sin, the condemnation of sin, and the curse of sin. We stand in God’s sight as if we had never sinned.

2. The person who is crucified with Christ, buried with Christ, and risen with Christ has ceased to be the servant of sin, self, and the world. He has not ceased from the burden of it nor a continual war with it, but he has ceased from the servitude and dominion of sin through divine grace and is the bond-slave of Christ.

1 Peter 4:2. We are sons of God, saved by his grace; but we are still in this world, and we have a time left to spend here. However, we are not going to spend the remaining days of our natural lives dominated by fleshly appetites and desires; but we will live our days here ruled by the will of God. We desire to live righteously, soberly, and godly in this world, motivated and constrained by the love of God.

1 Peter 4:3. Before we met Christ and were born of his spirit, we lived as heathens and pagans (Ephesians 2:1-5). The things that we now hate, we once loved; the things that are now shame to us were once our delight. We have no cause to judge and condemn those who exploit the flesh, for we ourselves were in the same darkness (Titus 3:2-3).

1 Peter 4:4. The people of the world do not understand you. They think it strange that you do not enjoy and take part in their evil. How can you not find sin a pleasure and a delight? How can you enjoy godliness and religion? They don’t. They call you fools, fanatics, and do-gooders. They don’t understand you; but you understand them, for you were once like them.

1 Peter 4:5. They shall one day have to give an account to Christ, who is ready to Judge the living (when he comes) and the dead (Revelation 20:11-15). To those who are in Christ there is no judgment, but all who die in their sins shall be judged justly and fairly according to their works (Romans 8:1).

1 Peter 4:6. This is the reason the gospel of Christ was preached to those who are now dead (such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and all of the Old Testament believers) that, though they were still men in the flesh, subject to like passions, chastened of God, hated and misunderstood by natural men, they lived then and now live for the glory of God in the spirit. They lived by faith then, walking in the Spirit; and they live eternally now by God’s grace! The same gospel of Christ quickened them that now makes us live in the spirit (Romans 1:1-3; John 5:46; John 8:56).

1 Peter 4:7. The end of your life is near; we are sure of that, but also the end of the world is near. Christ is coming, and the day of his wrath is at the door. Therefore, be serious, be solemn, and call upon God in prayer for his mercy in Christ for yourselves, your children, and your kinsmen according to the flesh (Romans 10:1).

1 Peter 4:8. Above all things have a genuine and unfailing love for one another; for real love will overlook, disregard, and forgive the infirmities, failures, and sins of others (Proverbs 10:12). If you remember what you were (except for God’s grace), what you could be, and really care for the welfare of others, you will forgive and overlook their infirmities (Matthew 6:14-15).

1 Peter 4:9. Generosity and hospitality are marks of grace, not only to our friends and families but to strangers, the poor who come our way, and all whom it is in our power to help. We must learn to share what God has given us and deal in mercy with others without murmuring, doing it with a cheerful spirit as representing Christ (Ephesians 4:32).

1 Peter 4:10. There is nothing which we have in nature or grace that is not the gift of God (1 Corinthians 4:7). As each of you have received a particular talent, divine endowment, or certain power in certain areas (whether physical, material, or spiritual), employ that talent as a faithful steward of the many-sided grace of God. God did not bring us into his body for our comfort and satisfaction alone, but for his glory and the good of the whole body of Christ.

1 Peter 4:11. Whoever preaches or teaches, let him declare the word of God according to the Scriptures. Whoever renders service, let him do it according to the strength and ability God has given him. Whoever prays, sings, gives, witnesses, waits on tables, relieves the sick and poor, visits the widows and orphans, or in any way makes a contribution to the kingdom of God, let him do it without complaining, with strength of purpose, out of gratitude and love to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ–to whom be praise and glory forever and ever!


Verses 12-19

Rejoicing in trials and afflictions

1 Peter 4:12-19

1 Peter 4:12. Beloved believers, do not be amazed and bewildered by difficult trials and afflictions which come upon you. Afflictions, trials, and sufferings are the common lot of God’s people in all ages. God has only one Son without sin—none without suffering! For even Christ our Lord suffered hatred, reproach, and contradiction (John 16:1-3; John 16:33). Trials in the life of a believer are not by chance but are by appointment and according to the will of God (Philippians 1:29). Trials and afflictions try the graces of believers.

1. They try our faith, which becomes more precious through trial.

2. They try our love for Christ, which cannot be dimmed or drowned in the floods of suffering.

3. They try our hope of eternal life, weaning us from fleshly foundations.

4. They try our profession of religion, revealing whether it is in Christ’s person or in the loaves and fishes he provides (John 2:23-25).

Trials are not strange and unusual for the true believer, but they are the common lot of all who will live Godly in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12).

1 Peter 4:13. Rejoice and glory in trials and afflictions brought upon you by the will of God and for the sake of the gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

1. Rejoice that the hand of God is upon you in mercy, making you like Christ, creating saving graces in you, and counting you worthy to suffer for his glory.

2. Rejoice that you are blessed to share the sufferings of Christ, being identified with him in a world that rejects and hates him (John 15:18-20).

3. Rejoice that when his full glory is revealed at the last day, you that have been identified with him, suffered with him, and confessed him, will be glorified with him (2 Timothy 2:12; Matthew 10:32-33).

1 Peter 4:14. When religionists and others speak evil of you and persecute you for your faith in Christ Jesus and your belief in his gospel of sovereign grace, do not be downcast and blue. Be happy! You are to be envied, for you are truly blessed of God; the Spirit of God rests upon you. They are blaspheming the name, work, and Lordship of Christ; but you are glorifying him by your faith, your loyalty, and your willingness to praise him in a wicked and evil generation (Matthew 5:10-12).

1 Peter 4:15. Let none of you suffer as a murderer—who hates others, destroys character and reputation by gossip and slander, or who wishes misfortune on others. Let none of you suffer as a thief–who robs men of the love you owe them and the gospel message you are sent to share. Let none of you suffer as an evildoer–who breaks either the laws of God or the laws of men. Let none of you suffer as a meddler or a busybody–who takes upon himself to manage, direct, or command the affairs and lives of others.

1 Peter 4:16. If you are privileged to suffer for being a true believer in Christ, for loving his word, his gospel, and his grace, and for declaring the gospel of substitution, do not be ashamed; but give glory to God that you are counted worthy to suffer in his name and for his glory.

1 Peter 4:17. ‘The house of God’ is the household of God or the true sons of God. The time has arrived when God will judge his people, not for their sins (there is no judgment or condemnation in Christ); but by trial, affliction, and suffering, he will try and prove their faith, love, and trust. They will be proven beyond doubt to be his own, as he proved the faith and love of Abraham by severe trial. If God is pleased to put his children through the furnace of affliction to prove their faith, what shall be the fate of those who bear his infinite wrath? (Psalms 37:38; Psalms 73:17-18.)

1 Peter 4:18. If the believer is saved with difficulty because of the holiness of God’s law and the strictness of his righteous justice (which required the perfect obedience and infinite suffering of his only begotten Son), what shall become of the ungodly and the unbeliever? Since ‘God spared not his own Son’ (Romans 8:32), will he spare the ungodly?

1 Peter 4:19. Therefore, let us who are predestined by the sovereign will and wisdom of our God to suffer and endure trials for his glory commit our souls to him who created us for his glory and who will never leave us nor forsake us!

 


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Bibliography Information
Mahan, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Peter 4:4". Henry Mahan's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hms/1-peter-4.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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