1 Peter 4
1 Christ had trouble and pain while he lived in his body. So, you should prepare yourselves to have trouble and pain too. Think about it in the same way that Christ did. Then you will be strong. If someone has trouble and pain in his body, he no longer wants to do wrong things. 2 As a result, that person will want to do what God wants him to do. While he continues to live in his body, he will not want to do the bad things that people often want to do.
3 You have already done those kinds of bad things for long enough. The people who do not know God like to live in that way. In past times, you also did those bad things. You did many wrong things that your bodies wanted to do. You had sex in a wrong way. You were drunks. You went to many wild parties where you drank too much alcohol. You worshipped idols, and God hates that.
4:3God hates it when people worship idols or false gods. He hates it because only he himself is really God. He is the only one that we should worship.
4 The people who do not know God are surprised that you no longer live in that bad way. They continue to enjoy those bad things all the time. But you do not join with them. So they say bad things against you. 5 But those people will have to explain to God what they have done. He is ready to judge every person, whether they are alive now or they have already died. 6 This is why even dead people needed to hear the good news about Christ. Their bodies had to die, as all people must die. But they heard the good news so that their spirits could live, as God wants them to live.
4:6The ‘dead people’ may mean all the believers who had died during the time that the New Testament describes. Or, the ‘dead people’ may mean all the people who died before Christ came to live on earth. They had no chance to hear the good news about Christ while they lived on earth. So, this may mean that Christ went to tell them about what he had done on their behalf. Then they had the chance to believe in him, as we do.
We must use God's gifts properly
7 All things in this world will soon come to an end. So, you must think clearly. Then you will be able to pray in a serious way. 8 Continue to love each other very much. That is more important than anything else. If you love people, you will forgive them for any wrong things that they have done. 9 Always be happy to have other believers as visitors in your homes.
10 God has helped each of you in a certain way. You should use that gift from God well, so that you can help other people. Think carefully about how you do that. Remember that God has given many different gifts to his people so that they can serve him. 11 Has God has helped you to speak well? Then speak God's messages to people. Or has God helped you to serve other people? Then let God make you strong to do that. Do everything so that people will praise God. They will say that God is great, because of Jesus Christ. He is the one who has all authority and power always. Everyone should praise him! Amen! This is true!
Christians must be ready to have trouble and pain
12 My friends, I know that people are causing you to have bad trouble. It is like a fire that is burning you. Do not be surprised about that. These things are happening to you, to show whether you really trust God. So do not think that something strange is happening to you. 13 Instead, thank God when you have trouble. Remember that Christ also received much pain. If you have trouble like he did, then you will be happy when he returns. When everyone sees how great Christ really is, then you will thank God, and you will be very happy. 14 People may say bad things against you because you belong to Christ. But God will bless you when that happens. It shows that God's Spirit is with you. He is the Spirit who shows that God is really great.
15 But if you receive pain because you do wrong things, that is only right. You must not kill anyone. You must not rob anyone. You must not do bad things to other people. You must not cause other people to have trouble. If you do bad things like that, then they are right to punish you. 16 But if you receive trouble because you are a Christian, do not be ashamed about that. Instead, you should thank God that you belong to Christ.
17 The time has come when God will start to judge people. He will decide what should happen to everyone. He will first judge the people who belong to him. Since he will start with us, think about what will happen to other people! They have refused to obey God's good news. In the end, it will be very bad for them. Is that not true? 18 The Bible says:
‘When God saves people who are good,
it is difficult for that to happen.
So, think about the people who refuse to obey God.
It will surely be much worse for those bad people.’
4:18We can read this in the Bible at Proverbs 11:31.
19 So remember this. If you receive trouble because that is what God wants, you should trust him. God made you and he always does what he has promised. So you should continue to do what is good, and you should continue to trust him.