Reading 1 Peter chapter 4 this morning. It is powerful. It describes a many great truths but the profound one that hits me this morning is 'Control born of loyalty and not legislation.'
Like every portion of scripture. I want to keep the main themes of the Bible before me as I read... redemption... the Finished Work... grace... mercy... love... forgiveness... God's sovereignty and holiness... most of all Christ Himself since He Is the bridge to all things eternal.
"Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead." - 1 Peter 4:1-5 ESV
There are open arms that wait for us and there are doors that will shut and smiling faces that once invited us in that will now turn away to other people. It is hard, especially hard, because now unlike before we can truly love but some will no longer love us.
"For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does." - 1 Peter 4:6 ESV
What an interesting verse. If you love Jesus in time you see a difference between what people do and what He does. The sin that you once loved will begin to be revealed for what it really is and become less attractive or even repulsive. What does that do to a person when there is such a drastic value system change?
Some become militantly against what they used to participant in. For many that lasts only for a season... but for others it persists. They use scripture like a club to knock the bad fruit (that now suddenly offends them) out of every surrounding tree.
It is natural to judge people after the flesh that is how people are. God knows the right root will produce the right fruit. He isn't interested in making dead people behave. He wants people to be alive in the Spirit.
"The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers." - 1 Peter 4:7 ESV
Is the self control spoken here a resistance against sin or an adjustment to grace? Why would our soberness be for our prayer life's sake?
Perhaps we can spend our prayer times lifting up to God sin conscious prayers for ourselves and others that are cut off from God's mind. God cares for souls. He is extending Himself in patience and long suffering not to men men moral but to save.
"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:" - 1 Peter 4:8-10 ESV
Loving as stewardship of grace is is devoid of sin consciousness... it sees a difference and It does not compromise but does not magnify sin butcause sin is not the issue.
"whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies - in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." - 1 Peter 4:11 ESV
The new loyalty isn't just ceasing from the old... it is living in the new and the new life has an authority but it isn't the authority of legislation. It is the authority of a supply and a discernment.
There is a confidence in knowing that even though you might not have everything right in life there are things that you can rely on fully and give to others without reservation. Facts not opinions. God's words and not man's opinions.
"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name." - 1 Peter 4:12-16 ESV
Our new identity is strong tower we can run into and hide. If we live by passion we may well end up guilty of 'crimes of passion'. It is often those who preach hard against certain sins that are later found to be participants in those same things to their own shame. The villagers have torches outside there door and with good reason. Are this hypocrites children of God? These verse suggest that they may well be. They just became sin sensitive instead of grace oriented.
Grace glorifies God in a sober way.
"For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And 'If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?' Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good." - 1 Peter 4:17-19 ESV
Obeying the Gospel of God is living in the grace of God with new lips and new eyes. The righteous person can still fall all day long but they get back up again and even avoid pitfalls because they see them coming.
Today we can entrust our soul to the God of all grace. God didn't open our eyes to curse the blind. He opened our eyes so that we could see Him and have fellowship with Him. He is out there doing good. We can go with Him if we have eyes that can adjust to the brightness of His person.