4 Since Christ suffered while he was in his body, strengthen yourselves with the same way of thinking Christ had. The person who has suffered in the body is finished with sin. 2 Strengthen yourselves so that you will live here on earth doing what God wants, not the evil things people want. 3 In the past you wasted too much time doing what nonbelievers enjoy. You were guilty of sexual sins, evil desires, drunkenness, wild and drunken parties, and hateful idol worship. 4 Nonbelievers think it is strange that you do not do the many wild and wasteful things they do, so they insult you. 5 But they will have to explain this to God, who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this reason the Good News was preached to those who are now dead. Even though they were judged like all people, the Good News was preached to them so they could live in the spirit as God lives.
Use God’s Gifts Wisely
7 The time is near when all things will end. So think clearly and control yourselves so you will be able to pray. 8 Most importantly, love each other deeply, because love will cause people to forgive each other for many sins. 9 Open your homes to each other, without complaining. 10 Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace. 11 Anyone who speaks should speak words from God. Anyone who serves should serve with the strength God gives so that in everything God will be praised through Jesus Christ. Power and glory belong to him forever and ever. Amen.
Suffering as a Christian
12 My friends, do not be surprised at the terrible trouble which now comes to test you. Do not think that something strange is happening to you. 13 But be happy that you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings so that you will be happy and full of joy when Christ comes again in glory. 14 When people insult you because you follow Christ, you are blessed, because the glorious Spirit, the Spirit of God, is with you. 15 Do not suffer for murder, theft, or any other crime, nor because you trouble other people. 16 But if you suffer because you are a Christian, do not be ashamed. Praise God because you wear that name. 17 It is time for judgment to begin with God’s family. And if that judging begins with us, what will happen to those people who do not obey the Good News of God?
18 “If it is very hard for a good person to be saved, the wicked person and the sinner will surely be lost!”[a]
19 So those who suffer as God wants should trust their souls to the faithful Creator as they continue to do what is right.
4:18“If . . . lost!” Quotation from Proverbs 11:31 in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament.
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