Today’s Bible reading

1 Peter is a tricky little letter written almost two thousand years ago. We’re a long way from where this whole thing started but we want to continue learning how be included in Peter’s description of his readers, “Though you have not seen him, you love him” (1 Peter 1:8). We want to use the Bible as a way to relate to God as the regular people we are. You don’t have to understand it all for it to form you. We’re rescuing Bible study from the experts and our own indifference. Our proverb, “The Bible should be known and followed, and that is a group project,” may be good to keep in mind as we journey together this week.

This is because whoever suffers is finished with sin. As a result, they don’t live the rest of their human lives in ways determined by human desires but in ways determined by God’s will.

Read 1 Peter 4:1-11

Christ Blessing, 1465, Antonello Da Messina

More thoughts for meditation

In this passage, Peter explains that the very blood of Jesus “funds” a new life. One that isn’t dictated by human desires and empty promises that our leaders give us to fulfill those desires, but by what God wants and what God wills.

What does Peter call those human desires? For one, a waste of time. The lack of restraint here is key. The lack of discernment. The lack of boundaries. Unrestrained immorality, excessive feasting, wild parties, worship of idols. In Peter’s world, much like ours, the line between the people who follow God and the people who don’t is marked not by their beliefs, but by their actions.

Peter wants his audience to contrast with the others. And so far, they are making a difference. They act differently and subsequently people make fun of them. They aren’t part of the normal. They aren’t part of the mainstream. They are the alternative. As a result, they suffer.

This shows the baffling difference between believers and unbelievers in the world and further cements Peter’s vision for peaceful and courageous resistance.

Those who hurt you? They’ll have to “reckon” with God—the ultimate judge, of the living and of the dead. We rest assured because those who cause us suffering will have to work things out with God. We don’t need to fight them or protect ourselves. God is with us.

Suggestions for action

Today, imagine the ways you are suffering as a Christian. See if it isn’t because you are “finished with sin.”

Jesus suffered, as a human, Peter tells us. We should do. We should “arm ourselves” or “ready ourselves,” with the same kind of thought. Let’s pray that we are clothed with the mind of Christ today. We suffer because we are following him. The world will be decidedly inhospitable to our alternativity. That much is clear. We are finished with “sin.” Christ “finished” sin, and as followers, we’ve rejected it too.