In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;1 Peter 4:4(NASB)
Before we were saved by grace through faith in Christ we were dead in our sins, at enmity with God, slaves of Satan and governed by the old, fallen sin-nature. During that pre-salvation time we were spiritually dead and without God, which means that both the noble deeds we carried out in the flesh, as well as our evil works, selfish actions the undisciplined behaviours, were ALL considered by God as unacceptable, and only fit to be consumed by the fire of His righteous judgement.
It means that anything and everything that was carried out by means of our old, fallen, sinful nature, whether good or ill, was unacceptable to the Lord. Even the good works and honourable activates, which were done through our fallen, fleshly nature, cannot please God – for all are sinners and all fall short of His glory.
A few of the activities, unrestrained behaviours and evil desires of our former, unsaved days, are listed in this verse as drunkenness; orgies; carousing and lawless idolatry. Peter was writing his letter to believers, but he knew that many of the people to whom he was writing had engaged in these, and other ungodly practices, before being saved by grace through faith in Christ.
Nothing that Christians do before they are justified by faith has any value to God and Peter spells it out clearly – you have spent enough time already participating in pagan practices, prior to salvation which included unrestrained behaviour, evil desires, drunken parties, ungodly orgies, disorderly carousing, and lawless idolatry. But it also included all the good works and noble deeds that are proudly carried out in the flesh or for personal praise.
Peter’s letter made it plain that these believers had wasted quite enough time engaging in fleshly practices and worldly activities that delight uncircumcised, pagan gentiles.. but which have no value for the believer.
The catalogue of activity Peter cited were a list of sins that characterised the unruly behaviour and worldly pursuits associated with unsaved, ‘uncircumcised’ Gentiles. Prior to salvation such pagan practices would be considered commonplace activities. But following salvation, God-fearing men and women should set aside such things and engage in the moral standards and righteous behaviours that are instituted by the Lord – there has already been enough time spent in doing the will of the pagans, Peter points out… carrying on in unrestrained behaviour, evil desires, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and lawless idolatry.
Like the believers of Peter’s day, we have been born-again and become part of God’s new creation in Christ. Like them we are to lay aside the old self and former ways. We are to consider the members of our earthly body as dead to immorality, idolatry and other ungodly pursuits. We are to put off the old man and disengage ourselves from our former conduct and jettison the things in which we engaged before our salvation. We are to die to self and live for God through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
We have a limited amount of time on earth and by God’s grace, should seek to use it for His greater praise and glory, knowing that we have been given ALL we need for life and godliness.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I have been saved by grace through faith and recognise that too much time has already been spent in doing activities that are not edifying or honouring to You. Help me to set aside all the things that hinder my spiritual growth and keep me from being enticed back into any ungodly activities. This I ask in Jesus name, AMEN.