Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
1 Peter 4:1-11 (NIV)
Living for God
4 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 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. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 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 human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. 7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so 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.
Nearly every book of the New Testament has a section which urges Christians to holy living. In today’s reading, Peter gives us an interesting perspective on this. He reminds his people that they “spent enough time in the past” living in drunkenness, idolatry, and sexual sins. He also points out one of the biggest challenges for Christians: facing the scorn of unbelievers (or sometimes even weak Christians) who ridicule us for not joining them in their sinful activities. This is a big challenge for young Christians. This is one reason why God wants us to spend plenty of time with Christian friends and in church community. Peter also reinforces something I said last Sunday: God’s plan is for us to not merely stop doing bad things; God wants us to grow habits of doing good and helpful things, so that we no longer have time to be wicked!