The first century world was an amazing mixture of so many manifestations of sin. It is ironic that many pagan rituals incorporated fleshly actions as a means of worshiping pagan gods. Who has not heard of the thousand priestesses in Corinth who thought it was a great honor to participate in sexual activities in worshiping the gods? It was not just in Corinth that immorality prevailed but it flourished throughout the Roman world. The pagan world could never understand the new lifestyles of those who became Christians.
Peter addresses this in his first letter to those Christians who lived just across the Aegean Sea in Asia Minor. Read the first few verses in chapter four to see how God used him to address these problems and then make application of these principles to your lives.
Dealing with sin involves arming ourselves with the mind of Christ. This expression found in verse one is rendered in the English Standard Version (ESV) as “arm yourselves with the same way of thinking.” We are in a lifetime battle for our souls and the solution is to prepare ourselves for battle by learning to view life as Jesus did. “What Would Jesus Do” is another way of expressing this same truth.
Dealing with sin means we should “no longer live the rest of our time in the flesh.” Peter’s admonition can be expressed in modern terms as “enough is enough,” “been there, done that” and “don’t waste your time.” Those early Christians could look to a past lifestyle and see how empty it was. In verse three he said, “We have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles.” Sober reflection shows that while we spent that time, it was not time well spent!
Dealing with sin means that we address specific sins and simply stop participating in them. Peter makes specific application of the sins in this list from the ESV and the New King James—“living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.” Look at this list and see the application it has today! We might not think it does, since it mentions idolatry, but remember that Paul says that covetousness is idolatry—and our materialistic world has filled our hearts with craving after things. Look at the list again and see if it does discuss the bar scene, the dating scene with its inappropriate touching and fondling, the one night stands, and gatherings often involving watching sports, where one of the prime activities is drinking.
Dealing with sin involves you personally looking at your life! Listen to the Lord, He will judge us by these words!