I Peter 4:3 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, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:
5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
6 For 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.
As we begin this devotional, I would urge all those who are truly born again to pray for Canada. Canada has taken a hostile position toward Israel. This current government has never been a friend of Israel, but they have recently made that abundantly clear. God warns the nations that anyone who curses Israel will be cursed of God. That is where Canada is increasingly at. Our P.M. needs to realize the wickedness in his heart. Those who are saved need to be willing to give some words of wisdom to him and to his colleagues. We also need to continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. War is deadly. We cannot believe the mainstream media coverage on this war. Hamas is not known to tell the truth. UNRWA and the Red Cross are both friends of Hamas and they are helping to spread lies about the casualties on the Hamas side. They are not reporting on the fact that Hamas uses its own people as human shields. They also do not report that the people of Gaza voted to have Hamas as their governing body. Millions in foreign aid has been used by Hamas to develop their terrorist organization over many years. The countries giving the aid could have known this, and they were complicit in funding the terrorists. Canada is guilty here as well. It is important to have our eyes open.
In our text, Peter was directed by God to remind the recipients that they began their lives as lost sinners. This is true for all people. Recently I spoke with a man who was trying to tell me to shelter the false religions. He was raised in false religion and he is still in love with that. He wants to think he is going to heaven, but he wants to protect the heresy of what he was raised in.
Peter and all of the writers of the Bible were often directed to remind us that we were all born as lost sinners and as such we commit sin. Peter referred to the past of the saints as doing the will of the Gentiles. We need to remember that his original recipients were saved Jews. Jews were given the Law and the Commandments. They had all that was necessary to know the truth and to choose to follow the truth. They were given many blessings by God. Yet we find that they were just as wicked as the Gentiles. Of course, Jews are born as lost sinners as well. Jews are saved by grace through faith just as Gentiles are.
Peter included himself in the sins mentioned here. “Lasciviousness” is unbridled lust. Living for that which feels good. The entire entertainment world lives by this philosophy. Indulge yourself.
“Lusts” involves a longing for that which is forbidden. King Solomon chose foreign, strange women as his harlem. The Bible declares one man and one woman for life. Samson also lusted after strange women. It was his end as well as that of king Solomon.
“Excess of wine” does not suggest that “social drinking” is acceptable. The Bible is clear that even looking at alcoholic drink is wrong. It leads to wanting to try it. Many lives have been ruined through the consumption of alcohol. The first mention of alcohol in Genesis 9 shows us the evil effects of it. Born again Christians do not justify sin, they forsake it.
“Revelings” refers to letting loose. This again refers to the party animal lifestyle. “Banquetings” refers to gatherings where the liquor is available and flows freely. A clean church banquet is not sin. A clean family gathering is not sin. Any gathering that honours God is not sin. Drunkenness never honours God.
“Abominable idolatries” refers to unlawful worship. Idolatry of any form has always been abominable to God. In the Ten Commandments, God clearly reminded the nation of Israel against idolatry. Catholicism is famous for its idolatry. They have tried to redefine what they are doing, but it is clear they are involved in idolatry. At this time of year idolatry is on display in many homes and even in many churches. We have accepted this because we like it and it makes us feel good.
In verse 4 we see that the world will think it strange that born again Christians do not run after these things. Here Peter summed all of verse 3 up with the phrase “excess of riot”. God knows that is a good description of the life of the ungodly. It starts with undisciplined children who behave in a wild manner and are destructive in their playing. It moves on into bullying and abusive behaviour. It continues to build and generally becomes more violent and vulgar as time moves on.
Peter reminded the saints that the ungodly would speak evil of them. The ungodly hate righteousness. The flesh does not want to be changed. Every true child of God knows this from their own past. It is important to remember that the ungodly will answer to God for their actions. Nothing is unnoticed by God. He is ready to judge the quick and the dead. The quick are the saved. The saved will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ. The judgment there is not as to whether we will enter heaven. That has already been settled at the moment of salvation. Salvation is based on the conscious choice that the sinner makes. The Holy Spirit is at work in the heart and life of every person. He is convincing the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. Those who get saved have yielded to the work of the Holy Spirit. At their judgment God will announce the rewards or loss of rewards received by the saved person.
The “dead” refers to the lost. The lost are judged at the great white throne judgment. Those who reject God’s gift of salvation, will be at that judgment. No one gets saved after death. Salvation is a gift of God. The lost are judged according to their works. Their works are all abominable to God. They will have all of eternity to reflect on their rejection of God and will be in torment for all eternity.
Verse 6 seems to refer back to what Peter wrote in ch.3:19-20. Those who died before Christ came still needed to trust in the promise of God. Salvation was the same for Old Testament people as for New Testament people. Salvation is never by works. Many people have died without Christ. They rejected the truth. Jesus Christ showed them that they were wrong in rejecting the truth. We need to keep in mind that Hell is a place of torment. It is not the “torment” some people talk of in this life. The torment of Hell is dreadful. It includes the gnashing of teeth.
The Gospel was preached to the dead. Those in Hell will regret their rejection of God for all eternity and never be able to change that. The dead could also refer to those who are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph.2:1). The Gospel is preached that we might live according to God in the spirit. No one can live according to God in the flesh. Law keeping cannot save anyone. No one is capable of keeping the law. Even the saved cannot keep the law faithfully. We are saved by faith. Our righteousness is found in Christ, not in our works.
The Gospel of Christ is powerful. Paul stated:
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
It is a blessing to respond obediently to the Gospel. Those who are lost are missing out on so much. They are blinded by the god of this world. They choose to believe a lie. Hopefully many more will be saved yet in these days of grace.