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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - 1PETER 4
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    CHAPTER 4

    1Pe 4:1-19. LIKE THE RISEN CHRIST, BELIEVERS HENCEFORTH OUGHT TO HAVE NO MORE TO DO WITH SIN.

    As the end is near, cultivate self-restraint, watchful prayerfulness, charity, hospitality, scriptural speech, ministering to one another according to your several gifts to the glory of God: Rejoicing patience under suffering.

    1. for us--supported by some oldest manuscripts and versions, omitted by others.
    - in the flesh--in His mortal body of humiliation.
    - arm-- (Eph 6:11, 13).
    - the same mind--of suffering with patient willingness what God wills you to suffer.
    - he that hath suffered--for instance, Christ first, and in His person the believer: a general proposition.
    - hath ceased--literally, "has been made to cease," has obtained by the very fact of His having suffered once for all, a cessation from sin, which had heretofore lain on Him (Ro 6:6-11, especially, 1Pe 4:7). The Christian is by faith one with Christ: as then Christ by death is judicially freed from sin; so the Christian who has in the person of Christ died, has no more to do with it judicially, and ought to have no more to do with it actually. "The flesh" is the sphere in which sin has place.

    2. That he, &c.--"That he (the believer, who has once for all obtained cessation from sin by suffering, in the person of Christ, namely, in virtue of his union with the crucified Christ) should no longer live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God" as his rule. "Rest of his time in the flesh" (the Greek has the preposition "in" here, not in 1Pe 4:1 as to Christ) proves that the reference is here not to Christ, but to the believer, whose remaining time for glorifying God is short (1Pe 4:3). "Live" in the truest sense, for heretofore he was dead. Not as ALFORD, "Arm yourselves . . . with a view no longer to live the rest of your time."

    3. may suffice--Greek, "is sufficient." Peter takes the lowest ground: for not even the past time ought to have been wasted in lust; but since you cannot recall it, at least lay out the future to better account.
    - us--omitted in oldest manuscripts.
    - wrought--Greek, "wrought out."
    - Gentiles--heathen: which many of you were.
    - when, &c.--"walking as ye have done [ALFORD] in lasciviousness"; the Greek means petulant, immodest, wantonness, unbridled conduct: not so much filthy lust.
    - excess of wine--"wine-bibbings" [ALFORD].
    - abominable--"nefarious," "lawless idolatries," violating God's most sacred law; not that all Peter's readers (see on 1Pe 1:1) walked in these, but many, namely, the Gentile portion of them.

    4. Wherein--In respect to which abandonment of your former walk (1Pe 4:3).
    - run not with them--eagerly, in troops [BENGEL].
    - excess--literally, "profusion"; a sink: stagnant water remaining after an inundation.
    - riot--profligacy.
    - speaking evil--charging you with pride, singularity, hypocrisy, and secret crimes (1Pe 4:14; 2Pe 2:2). However, there is no "of you" in the Greek, but simply "blaspheming." It seems to me always to be used, either directly or indirectly, in the sense of impious reviling against God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit, and the Christian religion, not merely against men as such; Greek, 1Pe 4:14, below.

    5. They who now call you to account falsely, shall have to give account themselves for this very evil-speaking (Jude 15), and be condemned justly.
    - ready--very speedily (1Pe 4:7; 2Pe 3:10). Christ's coming is to the believer always near.

    6. For--giving the reason for 1Pe 4:5, "judge the dead."
    - gospel preached also to . . . dead--as well as to them now living, and to them that shall be found alive at the coming of the Judge. "Dead" must be taken in the same literal sense as in 1Pe 4:5, which refutes the explanation "dead" in sins. Moreover, the absence of the Greek article does not necessarily restrict the sense of "dead" to particular dead persons, for there is no Greek article in 1Pe 4:5 also, where "the dead" is universal in meaning. The sense seems to be, Peter, as representing the true attitude of the Church in every age, expecting Christ at any moment, says, The Judge is ready to judge the quick and dead--the dead, I say, for they, too, in their lifetime, have had the Gospel preached to them, that so they might be judged at last in the same way as those living now (and those who shall be so when Christ shall come), namely, "men in the flesh," and that they might, having escaped condemnation by embracing the Gospel so preached, live unto God in the spirit (though death has passed over their flesh), Lu 20:38, thus being made like Christ in death and in life (see on 1Pe 3:18). He says, "live," not "made alive" or quickened; for they are supposed to have been already "quickened together with Christ" (Eph 2:5). This verse is parallel to 1Pe 3:18; compare Note, see on 1Pe 3:18. The Gospel, substantially, was "preached" to the Old Testament Church; though not so fully as to the New Testament Church. It is no valid objection that the Gospel has not been preached to all that shall be found dead at Christ's coming. For Peter is plainly referring only to those within reach of the Gospel, or who might have known God through His ministers in Old and New Testament times. Peter, like Paul, argues that those found living at Christ's coming shall have no advantage above the dead who shall then be raised, inasmuch as the latter live unto, or "according to," God, even already in His purpose. ALFORD'S explanation is wrong, "that they might be judged according to men as regards the flesh," that is, be in the state of the completed sentence on sin, which is death after the flesh. For "judged" cannot have a different meaning in this verse from what "judge" bears in 1Pe 4:5. "Live according to God" means, live a life with God, such as God lives, divine; as contrasted with "according to men in the flesh," that is, a life such as men live in the flesh.

    7. Resuming the idea in 1Pe 4:5.
    - the end of all things--and therefore also of the wantonness (1Pe 4:3, 4) of the wicked, and of the sufferings of the righteous [BENGEL]. The nearness meant is not that of mere "time," but that before the Lord; as he explains to guard against misapprehension, and defends God from the charge of procrastination: We live in the last dispensation, not like the Jews under the Old Testament. The Lord will come as a thief; He is "ready" (1Pe 4:5) to judge the world at any moment; it is only God's long-suffering and His will that the Gospel should be preached as a witness to all nations, that induces Him to lengthen out the time which is with Him still as nothing.
    - sober--"self-restrained." The opposite duties to the sins in 1Pe 4:3 are here inculcated. Thus "sober" is the opposite of "lasciviousness" (1Pe 4:3).
    - watch--Greek, "be soberly vigilant"; not intoxicated with worldly cares and pleasures. Temperance promotes wakefulness or watchfulness, and both promote prayer. Drink makes drowsy, and drowsiness prevents prayer.
    - prayer--Greek, "prayers"; the end for which we should exercise vigilance.

    8. above all things--not that "charity" or love is placed above "prayer," but because love is the animating spirit, without which all other duties are dead. Translate as Greek, "Having your mutual (literally, 'towards yourselves') charity intense." He presupposes its existence among them; he urges them to make it more fervent.
    - charity shall cover the multitude, &c.--The oldest manuscripts have "covereth." Quoted from Pr 10:12; compare Pr 17:9. "Covereth" so as not harshly to condemn or expose faults; but forbearingly to bear the other's burdens, forgiving and forgetting past offenses. Perhaps the additional idea is included, By prayer for them, love tries to have them covered by God; and so being the instrument of converting the sinner from his error, "covereth a (not 'the,' as English Version) multitude of sins"; but the former idea from Proverbs is the prominent one. It is not, as Rome teaches, "covereth" his own sins; for then the Greek middle voice would be used; and Pr 10:12; 17:9 support the Protestant view. "As God with His love covers my sins if I believe, so must I also cover the sins of my neighbor" [LUTHER]. Compare the conduct of Shem and Japheth to Noah (Ge 9:23), in contrast to Ham's exposure of his father's shame. We ought to cover others' sins only where love itself does not require the contrary.

    9. (Ro 12:13; Heb 13:2.) Not the spurious hospitality which passes current in the world, but the entertaining of those needing it, especially those exiled for the faith, as the representatives of Christ, and all hospitality to whomsoever exercised from genuine Christian love.
    - without grudging--Greek, "murmuring." "He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity," that is open-hearted sincerity; with cordiality. Not secretly speaking against the person whom we entertain, or upbraiding him with the favor we have conferred in him.

    10. every--"even as each man hath received," in whatever degree, and of whatever kind. The Spirit's gifts (literally, "gift of grace," that is, gratuitously bestowed) are the common property of the Christian community, each Christian being but a steward for the edifying of the whole, not receiving the gift merely for his own use.
    - minister the same--not discontentedly envying or disparaging the gift of another.
    - one to another--Greek as in 1Pe 4:8, "towards yourselves"; implying that all form but one body, and in seeking the good of other members they are promoting the good of themselves.
    - stewards--referring to Mt 25:15, &c.; Lu 19:13-26.

    11. If any . . . speak--namely, as a prophet, or divinely taught teacher in the Church assembly.
    - as the, &c.--The Greek has no article: "as oracles of God." This may be due to Greek: "God," having no article, it being a principle when a governed noun omits the Greek article that the governing noun should omit it, too. In Ac 7:38 also, the Greek article is wanting; thus English Version, "as the oracles of God," namely, the Old Testament, would be "right," and the precept be similar to Ro 12:6, "prophesy according to the analogy of the faith." But the context suits better thus, "Let him speak as (becomes one speaking) oracles OF GOD." His divinely inspired words are not his own, but God's, and as a steward (1Pe 4:10) having them committed to him, he ought so to speak them. Jesus was the pattern in this respect (Mt 7:29; Joh 12:49; 14:10; compare Paul, 2Co 2:17). Note, the very same term as is applied in the only other passages where it occurs (Ac 7:38; Ro 3:2; Heb 5:12), to the Old Testament inspired writings, is here predicated of the inspired words (the substance of which was afterwards committed to writing) of the New Testament prophets.
    - minister--in acts; the other sphere of spiritual activity besides speaking.
    - as of--"out of" the store of his "strength" (Greek, physical power in relation to outward service, rather than moral and intellectual "ability"; so in Mr 12:30).
    - giveth--Greek, "supplieth"; originally said of a choragus, who supplied the chorus with all necessaries for performing their several parts.
    - that God in all things may be glorified--the final end of all a Christian's acts.
    - through Jesus GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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