1 Peter 4

* The consideration of Christ's sufferings is urged for purity

and holiness. (1-6) And the approaching end of the Jewish state,

as a reason for sobriety, watchfulness, and prayer. (7-11)

Believers encouraged to rejoice and glory in reproaches and

sufferings for Christ, and to commit their souls to the care of

a faithful God. (12-19)

1-6 The strongest and best arguments against sin, are taken

from the sufferings of Christ. He died to destroy sin; and

though he cheerfully submitted to the worst sufferings, yet he

never gave way to the least sin. Temptations could not prevail,

were it not for man's own corruption; but true Christians make

the will of God, not their own lust or desires, the rule of

their lives and actions. And true conversion makes a marvellous

change in the heart and life. It alters the mind, judgment,

affections, and conversation. When a man is truly converted, it

is very grievous to him to think how the time past of his life

has been spent. One sin draws on another. Six sins are here

mentioned which have dependence one upon another. It is a

Christian's duty, not only to keep from gross wickedness, but

also from things that lead to sin, or appear evil. The gospel

had been preached to those since dead, who by the proud and

carnal judgment of wicked men were condemned as evil-doers, some

even suffering death. But being quickened to Divine life by the

Holy Spirit, they lived to God as his devoted servants. Let not

believers care, though the world scorns and reproaches them.
7-11 The destruction of the Jewish church and nation, foretold

by our Saviour, was very near. And the speedy approach of death

and judgment concerns all, to which these words naturally lead

our minds. Our approaching end, is a powerful argument to make

us sober in all worldly matters, and earnest in religion. There

are so many things amiss in all, that unless love covers,

excuses, and forgives in others, the mistakes and faults for

which every one needs the forbearance of others, Satan will

prevail to stir up divisions and discords. But we are not to

suppose that charity will cover or make amends for the sins of

those who exercise it, so as to induce God to forgive them. The

nature of a Christian's work, which is high work and hard work,

the goodness of the Master, and the excellence of the reward,

all require that our endeavours should be serious and earnest.

And in all the duties and services of life, we should aim at the

glory of God as our chief end. He is a miserable, unsettled

wretch, who cleaves to himself, and forgets God; is only

perplexed about his credit, and gain, and base ends, which are

often broken, and which, when he attains, both he and they must

shortly perish together. But he who has given up himself and his

all to God, may say confidently that the Lord is his portion;

and nothing but glory through Christ Jesus, is solid and

lasting; that abideth for ever.
12-19 By patience and fortitude in suffering, by dependence on

the promises of God, and keeping to the word the Holy Spirit

hath revealed, the Holy Spirit is glorified; but by the contempt

and reproaches cast upon believers, he is evil spoken of, and is

blasphemed. One would think such cautions as these were needless

to Christians. But their enemies falsely charged them with foul

crimes. And even the best of men need to be warned against the

worst of sins. There is no comfort in sufferings, when we bring

them upon ourselves by our own sin and folly. A time of

universal calamity was at hand, as foretold by our Saviour, #Mt

24:9,10|. And if such things befall in this life, how awful will

the day of judgment be! It is true that the righteous are

scarcely saved; even those who endeavour to walk uprightly in

the ways of God. This does not mean that the purpose and

performance of God are uncertain, but only the great

difficulties and hard encounters in the way; that they go

through so many temptations and tribulations, so many fightings

without and fears within. Yet all outward difficulties would be

as nothing, were it not for lusts and corruptions within. These

are the worst clogs and troubles. And if the way of the

righteous be so hard, then how hard shall be the end of the

ungodly sinner, who walks in sin with delight, and thinks the

righteous is a fool for all his pains! The only way to keep the

soul well, is, to commit it to God by prayer, and patient

perseverance in well-doing. He will overrule all to the final

advantage of the believer.

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