1 Peter 4:1-11 Stewards of God’s Grace (commentary)


1 Peter 4:1 is done with sin. The preceding reference to baptism (1 Pt 3:21; cf. Ro 6:1-10) indicates that Peter was here referring to the union of believers with Christ in his suffering and death, a union particularly symbolized by baptism (Ro 6:4). Although Christ remained completely sinless (1 Pt 2:22; 2Co 5:21; Heb 4:15), he nonetheless fully identified with sinful humanity by coming “in the likeness of sinful man” (Ro 8:3) and by being subject to temptation, suffering and death (Mk 1:12-13; Heb 2:10; 4:15). Christ “died to sin” (Ro 6:10) in the sense that after his death and resurrection, he was no longer subject to the power of sin and death.

1 Peter 4:2 See WCF 22.7.

1 Peter 4:3 This catalog of sins closely resembles Ro 13:13 and Ga 5:19-21 and points to the pagan background of most of Peter’s audience (1 Pt 1:14,18). debauchery. Unrestrained indulgence of one’s desires, especially for sensual pleasure (Ro 13:13; 2Co 12:21; Ep 4:19). lust. Almost always used in the negative sense of evil desire, often relating to sexual immorality. orgies. Excessive feasting, often in honor of a pagan god. carousing. Drinking parties, often involving excess. See WLC 139.

1 Peter 4:4-5 See WLC 113; BC 37.

1 Peter 4:6 this is the reason. A further development of the basic principle of a universal divine judgment given in verse 5. The reason in question is provided in verse 6. was preached even to those who are now dead. Although some connect this preaching with 1 Peter 3:19-20, it is more likely that it is unrelated. The people in question had been members of the Christian communities to which Peter wrote; they had been alive at the time of the preaching but had died by the time Peter wrote this epistle. be judged … in regard to the body. A probable reference to the physical death of the people in question. Although Christ triumphed over physical death in his death and resurrection (Ro 6:9), the full extent of that victory has not yet been manifested in the lives of God’s people. As a result, physical death is still a reality Christians face (Ro 6:5-8). Nevertheless, just as believers now enjoy spiritual renewal through union with Christ, they have full assurance that Christ’s victory will be extended to their physical bodies (1Co 15:25-26).

1 Peter 4:7 is near. From a New Testament perspective, the entire period between the resurrection of Christ and his second coming is seen as the “last days” (Ac 2:17; 1Pe 1:20; 1Ti 4:1).

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply. love covers … sins. Love keeps no record of wrongs but forgives in response to God’s forgiveness (Pr 10:12; Mt 18:21-22; 1Co 13:5; Jas 5:20). See WLC 144; HC 112.

1 Peter 4:9 hospitality. One of the fruits of love (v. 8). A variety of situations necessitating hospitality may be in view, such as homelessness due to persecution, Christians traveling on business or the needs of itinerant missionaries (Ro 12:13; 3Jn 5-8).

1 Peter 4:10-11 See BC 7.

1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use. See Ro 12:3-8 and 1Co 12:1-27.

1 Peter 4:11 very words of God. Peter’s concern in this section was that his readers live for the honor of God, as Christ himself did. God may be praised … To him be the glory. The words of those whose gifts (v. 10) involve speaking (teaching, preaching, evangelism, etc.) are granted by God, so that God receives the glory for the benefits they produce.