1 Peter 4J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
Following Christ will mean pain
4 1-6 Since Christ had to suffer physically for you, you must fortify yourselves with the same inner attitude that he must have had. You must realise that to be dead to sin inevitably means pain, and you should not therefore spend the rest of your time here on earth indulging your physical nature, but in doing the will of God. Our past life may have been good enough for pagan purposes, though it meant sensuality, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousals and worshipping forbidden gods. Indeed your former companions may think it very queer that you will no longer join with them in their riotous excesses, and accordingly say all sorts of unpleasant things about you. Don’t worry: they are the ones who will have to explain their behaviour before the one who is prepared to judge all men, whether living or dead. (For that is why the dead also had the Gospel preached to them—that it might judge the lives they lived as men and give them also the opportunity to share the eternal life of God in the spirit.)
Your attitude in these last days
7 We are near the end of all things now, and you should therefore be calm, self-controlled men of prayer.
8 Above everything else be sure that you have real deep love for each other, remembering how ‘love will cover a multitude of sins’.
9 Be hospitable to each other without secretly wishing you hadn’t got to be!
10-11 Serve one another with the particular gifts God has given each of you, as faithful dispensers of the magnificently varied grace of God. If any of you is a preacher then he should preach his message as from God. And in whatever way a man serves the Church he should do it recognising the fact that God gives him his ability, so that God may be glorified in everything through Jesus Christ. To him belong praise and power for ever, amen!
Your attitude to persecution
12-16 And now dear friends of mine. I beg you not to be unduly alarmed at the fiery ordeals which come to test your faith, as though this were some abnormal experience. You should be glad, because it means that you are called to share Christ’s sufferings. One day, when he shows himself in full splendour to men, you will be filled with the most tremendous joy. If you are reproached for being Christ’s followers, that is a great privilege, for you can be sure that God’s Spirit of glory is resting upon you. But take care that none of your number suffers as a murderer, or a thief, a rogue or a spy! If he suffers as a Christian he has nothing to be ashamed of and may glorify God in Christ’s name.
17-18 The time has evidently arrived for God’s judgment to begin, and it is beginning at his own House. And if it starts with us, what is it going to mean to those who refuse to obey the Gospel of God? ‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’.
19 And if it is true that we are living in a time of judgment, then those who suffer according to God’s will can only commit their souls to their faithful creator, and go on doing all the good they can.