Accountability in Action: Now “or”
Do we go right or do we go left? We will be held accountable for our actions no matter what. Our old acquaintances may call us to account when we don’t go after the old activities bringing an accounting that can be stiff, immediate, and maligning. Later on though we come to a point where we meet with God. An accounting will happen then as well. In chapter 3 verse 17 Peter said that it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. In some manner to continue in sin may reduce one’s immediate accountability and reduce suffering for doing good, but it will result in suffering for doing evil. That happens through the consequences of sin and from the consequences of judgment.
“3 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. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For 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 4:3-6 (ESV)
Verse 3: Old activities
- Christians don’t come with a clean slate
- They get their slate cleaned, but were not always this way
- They have known act
ivities that the world now knows
- The ESV says that the time spent in those activities is sufficient
- Enough time was spent there to know they are empty and hollow
- Deception, sensuality, lust, etc. do not give back as much as they take
- The Christ follower must not engage these any longer
- The old must go and the new must come.
Verse 4: Old relationships
- Activities are often not done by oneself
- Companions of the past are not gone
- There is a wide range of people who still run in these ways
- They do not understand or look favorably upon those who stay apart from these things
- There are those who want and choose to live the evil styles
- In fact, Christians may yet have desires for sinful ways. If the Christian still possesses such desires they must not think it strange that the non-Christian does.
- Remember that it is God’s grace to the Christian that lets them see the downsides of their sins and cleanses them from them. That grace helps to prevent further damage.
- Many, though, will become angry and abusive toward those who will not live in ungodliness
- Peter uses the word flood in his description
- Wash away valuable things
- Cause harm
- Produce a disaster that must be cleaned up
- Reshape the surface of things
- Bring mud into the houses
- Kill people and animals
- At first I mainly thought the word flood fit with the amount of misbehavior, but after having put together this list the effects of those behaviors is a much more valuable analogy.
- We would not invite a flood into and around our houses. We should never invite a flood of sin into the inner sanctuary of our lives.
- We must let the Samaritan’s purse of Jesus Christ come in and clean things up.
Verse 5: Coming judgment
- A time is coming when accounts must be settled
- God is ready to judge the living and the dead
- An accounting must be given
Verse 6: Fairness of God
- This is another very interesting perspective
- Recall in 1 Peter 3:19 Peter indicated that Christ went and preached to the dead.
- Here is a similar concept
- God provided a way for the gospel to be preached to those who had died in the days of Noah.
- He made a way for them to hear,
- He made a way to balance what people knew of God
- He made a way for those who had been disobedient to yet again respond to.
- He did this so that they might live like God does
- It may be easier to figure that God did this so he could judge them
- In some manner that is very true
- But we must not overlook the last part of this verse which speaks of the offer of life by the spirit.
- It mentions that they were given an opportunity to live like God does.
- So for those naysayers in our era who refuse to believe on the basis of the presumed condemnation of those who died before hearing of Christ this passage can be brought.
- It is dangerous to refuse the offer of God, to squelch conviction.
- It is dangerous, though, to personally bank on grace after death, especially for those given an opportunity.
- In some manner that is very true
Key concepts from this section:
- Enough is enough
- Choices make a difference
- Move on
- Coming judgment