Do Not Plunge In- 1 Peter 4:3-6

In the first two verses of 1 Peter 4, we have seen that being “done with sin” comes from a change in attitude, from a change in mindset and a change in how we see everything. This change in attitude produces a change in desire, that we desire no longer to please our “flesh” but to please God, to do His will rather than our own. We then learn, in verse 3, that this new attitude and these new desires will produce new choices, that the realities which Peter describes have happened in fact, and it is up to us to make them a reality in practice. God has made us holy and we must live out that holiness through the choices we make moment by moment and day by day. For we used to live as the world does, used to live a life characterized by debauchery. The word debauchery here is the Greek aselgeia, commonly translated as liscentiousness, and literally meaning to “take license”. This basically means to do whatever you feel like doing whenever you feel like doing it, and not caring what anyone else (including God) says or thinks about it. This basically describes the society in which we now live, where everyone seems to demand the right to do their own thing, free from judgment, criticism or interference. This has become so prevalent that those who don’t live that way are seen as strange, and the society will “heap abuse” upon (literally blaspheme or slander) them, persecuting, mocking, laughing at, reviling and insulting them. We will be called strange for not “plunging in” to the same tidal wave of public opinion, for not wanting embrace the “freedom” they offer, for we know (due to our new attitude and mindset) that the freedom they offer is actually bondage, which ultimately leads to misery, destruction and death. Peter tells us bluntly not to plunge in with them, but to resist this flood of dissipation. What is of interest to us is how Peter tells us we are to respond. He basically tells us here not to sink to their level, not to let their antics, threats and intimidation draw us into acting and thinking like they do, for we are dead to that way of acting and thinking. It is interesting here that Peter then goes on in verses 5-6 to make reference to the gospel, for this is how we are to “handle” living a life dedicated to the will of God in the midst of a society in which most will plunge into the flood of dissipation. We must ever be aware of the fact that all those who have ever lived will one day give an account to God (verse 5), who will judge the deeds of both the “living” (believers) for their degree of eternal reward and the “dead” (lost) for their degree of eternal punishment. From this fact Peter gives us our ultimate purpose and calling in this world, to “preach the gospel” to all people, to shine as lights in the darkness, to live lives of holiness, devoted to God and eager to do His will, to hold onto and stand up for the truth of the Scripture, to not allow their threats and mockeries to silence us or cause us to compromise the truth which Jesus and others have died for. We are to continue to proclaim the good news to all, for all will be judged, and the only chance they have to avoid the “eternal” flood of dissipation is the witness of those faithful to Jesus Christ and the truth of His word. We live in a society which is primarily controlled by sin, whose primary message is: “do what you want and don’t worry about what God or anyone else says or thinks about it”. But believers are “done with” that, they have been given a new attitude and mindset, and now desire to please God above all else. Therefore, we must choose, every moment of every day, not “plunge into the same flood of dissipation” which characterizes the society in which we live. We must consciously choose to live by and live out the truth of the Word of God, not allowing the society to bully us, shame us, or mock us into abandoning that truth, but holding fast to it, being a light in the darkness of these times, for all those mocking us will one day face judgment, and our witness is the only hope they now have or ever will have. This all then takes us back around to verse 1, for holding to the truth of the gospel and the Scriptures will cause us to “suffer in our bodies”, to undergo mockery, name-calling, ridicule, scorn and various other persecutions, and the one who is willing to endure all of this without abandoning or compromising the truth, will be well on his way to being once and for all “done with sin”.

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