1 Peter 4:6
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

New Living Translation
That is why the Good News was preached to those who are now dead--so although they were destined to die like all people, they now live forever with God in the Spirit.

English Standard Version
For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

Berean Study Bible
That is why the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged as men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Berean Literal Bible
For to this end the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that they might be judged indeed according to men in the flesh, but they might live in the spirit according to God.

New American Standard Bible
For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

King James Bible
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For this reason the gospel was also preached to those who are now dead, so that, although they might be judged by men in the fleshly realm, they might live by God in the spiritual realm.

International Standard Version
Indeed, this is why the gospel was proclaimed even to those who have died, so that they could be judged in their mortal flesh like all humans and live in the spiritual realm like God.

NET Bible
Now it was for this very purpose that the gospel was preached to those who are now dead, so that though they were judged in the flesh by human standards they may live spiritually by God's standards.

New Heart English Bible
For to this end the Good News was preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed as men in the flesh, but live as to God in the spirit.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For because of this, The Good News was proclaimed also to the dead that they would be judged as children of men in the flesh and they would live in God by The Spirit.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
After all, the Good News was told to people like that, although they are now dead. It was told to them so that they could be judged like humans in their earthly lives and live like God in their spiritual lives.

New American Standard 1977
For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Because for this cause was the gospel preached also to those that are dead, that they might be judged in flesh according to men, but live in spirit according to God.

King James 2000 Bible
For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

American King James Version
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

American Standard Version
For unto this end was the gospel preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to the dead: that they might be judged indeed according to men, in the flesh; but may live according to God, in the Spirit.

Darby Bible Translation
For to this [end] were the glad tidings preached to [the] dead also, that they might be judged, as regards men, after [the] flesh, but live, as regards God, after [the] Spirit.

English Revised Version
For unto this end was the gospel preached even to the dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Webster's Bible Translation
For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Weymouth New Testament
For it is with this end in view that the Good News was proclaimed even to some who were dead, that they may be judged, as all mankind will be judged, in the body, but may be living a godly life in the spirit.

World English Bible
For to this end the Good News was preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed as men in the flesh, but live as to God in the spirit.

Young's Literal Translation
for for this also to dead men was good news proclaimed, that they may be judged, indeed, according to men in the flesh, and may live according to God in the spirit.
Study Bible
Living for God's Glory
5But they will have to give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6That is why the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged as men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear-minded and sober, so you can pray.…
Cross References
1 Peter 1:12
It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they foretold the things now announced by those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body, but made alive in the spirit,
Treasury of Scripture

For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

to them.

1 Peter 3:19 By which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison;

John 5:25,26 Truly, truly, I say to you, The hour is coming, and now is, when …

that they.

1 Peter 4:1,2 For as much then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm …

Matthew 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: …

Romans 8:9-11 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the …

1 Corinthians 11:31,32 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged…

but.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free …

Galatians 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live to God.

Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:3-5 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the …

Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, …

Revelation 14:18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; …

(6) For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead.--This version is misleading, and seems indeed to be one of those rare cases where the original has been expanded by the translators for doctrinal ends. The Greek is simply, For for this end was the gospel preached to the dead also, or, still more literally, to dead men also. No one with an un-preoccupied mind could doubt, taking this clause by itself, that the persons to whom this preaching was made were dead at the time of being preached to. If this is the case, then, pretty obviously, St. Peter is carrying us back to his teaching of 1Peter 3:19, and is explaining further the purpose of Christ's descent into hell.

That they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.--In order to obtain a clear notion of this hard saying, it will be necessary once more to survey the course of the whole passage. "It is better," the Apostle said, "to suffer in well-doing than in evil-doing." They must take their choice, that is, which kind of suffering they would have. It was not indeed certain that in case they chose to do well they would suffer for it; and if they did, there was the history of Christ to encourage them. But in case they chose to be evil-doers, it was certain that they would suffer. "And you had better," he says, "suffer in well-doing than in evil-doing." He then gives an instance of persons who suffered in evil-doing--the fleshly Antediluvians, whom God cut short in their crimes by the Flood, and to whom Christ went to preach in their prison-house. He then exhorts his readers--some of whom had, for one reason or another, been allowing themselves to fall into antinomian ways--not to live any longer to the flesh, not to make true the slanders of the heathen, who tried to make out that the Christians were as bad livers as themselves; for such evil-doers were doomed to speedy suffering; those heathens would soon be called to account by Him who was ready to judge quick and dead alike; "for," he adds, "the object of that preaching to the dead also was that they may be judged according to men in flesh, but may live according to God in spirit." (1) The first question is, What does the Apostle mean to substantiate by this last verse, "for for this cause?" Not the fact that Christ will judge the dead as well as the quick, for that would have no practical bearing upon the readers. Not the fact that Christ was now ready for judgment; for although He will certainly not come until the dead as well as the quick are in a position to be judged, yet we should then have expected something more like, "The reason why the dead were preached to was that the judgment might no longer be put off;" instead of which, the whole point, of the verse is the particular destiny in reserve for those dead, which destiny was the intention and result of Christ's preaching the gospel to them. It must, therefore, be a further reason for warning the Christians not to live lives of evil-doing like the contemporaries of Noah or their own heathen contemporaries. If it be necessary to attach the word "for" to any particular words, we may perhaps attach it to the words "they shall give account;" and 1Peter 4:6 would hint at the kind of account they would have to give, as "giving account" implies the settlement which follows. (2) But if 1Peter 4:6 clenches the warning to the Christians not to become antinomian, then we must understand the destiny of these dead to whom Christ preached to be not the brightest, after all. This brings us to consider what is meant by their being "judged in flesh" (i.e., as in 1Peter 4:1, so far as flesh is concerned). In the previous verse, Christ is said to be quite ready to "judge" quick and dead. The context makes us feel that St. Peter is not picturing to himself that scene as one of calm forensic investigation, with "opened books" or the like. His idea of this judgment is rather of a "judgment" such as took place in the days of Noe, a great crisis (the Greek word for "judgment") or world-wide catastrophe, which, of course, cannot harm the just, but only the unjust. He shows the same conception of the Judgment, and illustrates it by Noe's Flood, in 2Peter 2:5-9; 2Peter 3:6-7. Now "judgment" is a neutral word, which, in Scripture, takes its colour from the surroundings, so that it sometimes is a thing to be longed for (e.g., Psalm 43:1; Psalm 72:2; Hebrews 10:30); at other times a thing to be dreaded, as here. Though we do not limit the "quick and dead" here to mean the wicked quick, and dead, yet they are evidently uppermost in St. Peter's mind, so that there is scarcely any conscious change in the meaning of the word "judged" when we pass from 1Peter 4:5 to 1Peter 4:6. It there means certainly a judicial punishment, or even judicial destruction. While the word often denotes a condemnation (as in English we say "to sentence")--for example, in John 16:1-2; 2Thessalonians 2:12; Revelation 19:2--it seems to have the further notion of a judicial death in 1Corinthians 11:31-32 : "Had we been in the habit of discerning ourselves, we should not have been subject to these repeated judgments (weakness, sickness, death--1Corinthians 11:30); but now these judgments are a discipline from our Lord, to save us from being condemned with the world." And that judicial destruction to the flesh is what St. Peter means. he proves by contrasting "but may live in spirit" rather than "be saved" or "justified." (3) It is next to be considered what date we are to fix for this judgment of the flesh. Was it previous to Christ's preaching the gospel to them in hell, or was it to be subsequent? Taking the former line, we should be able to paraphrase, "His object was, that though in flesh they had been judged, having been judicially destroyed by the Flood, they yet might live hereafter in spirit." But, besides other difficulties, it is far more than doubtful whether it is Greek to infuse a past sense into the subjunctive mood here used: i.e., to render this, "it was preached in order that they might have been judged." Had we the words by themselves, and no preconceived theology to hinder us, we should undoubtedly translate, "To this end was the gospel preached to dead men too: viz., in order that they may be judged indeed according to men so far as they are flesh, but may live according to God so far as they are spirit." The judgment spoken of would not be their death beneath the waves of Noe, but something still future; and this view would be confirmed by reading what St. Peter says of them, and of the angels who (in all probability) sinned with them, in the passages of the Second Epistle above referred to. How, then, will they be hereafter condemned to a judicial destruction of the flesh, but a merciful preservation of the spirit? The answer, though it seems inevitable to the present writer, must be given with trembling, and in deference to the judgment of the Church, the collective Christian consciousness, whenever that shall be expressed upon the point. A close parallel may be found in 1Corinthians 5:5. There St. Paul judges to deliver to Satan (is he the warder of the "prison" where such spirits are confined?) a person who has foully sinned in the flesh, "for annihilation of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." That in that place it does not mean a temporal judgment upon the bodily life (such as was passed upon the Antediluvians or the profaners of the Eucharist at Corinth) is clear, from the fact that excommunication was not attended with temporal death. That it does not mean voluntary self-mortification of the flesh in this world seems clear (among other considerations) by comparison of our present passage, for the opportunity for self-mortification in the flesh was long past for the spirits to whom Christ preached. Now why, in these two cases, do the writers take pains to point the antithesis between "flesh" and "spirit," if, after all, the flesh is to share the mercy shown to the spirit? The antithesis becomes a false one. Why did not St. Paul say, "To deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that he may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus?" and St. Peter, "For this cause was the gospel preached to the dead also, that though judged indeed in flesh, they might, after all, live according to God?" And what is the point of this dread warning, if in the end these Antediluvians attain to the same bliss, "both in body and soul," as other men? There is a whole set of passages which seems to teach that resurrection--i.e., the permanent restitution of life to the body--is a gift which does not belong to all. To those who eat Christ's flesh. He promises, "I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:54). St. Paul suffers the loss of all things, "if by any means he may attain to the resurrection of the dead" (Philippians 3:11; comp. 2Corinthians 5:3-4). Our Lord bids the Apostles "fear Him [it is doubtful whether he means God, or Satan, who acts by God's permission] who is able to destroy both soul [He does not say 'spirit'] and body in hell." So it would be the simplest explanation of our present text if we might believe that these Antediluvians were to be deprived of resurrection of the flesh which they had so foully corrupted, but in God's mercy, through accepting the gospel preached to them by Christ after their death, were to be allowed a purely spiritual existence. They would thus be sentenced "according to men," i.e., from a human point of view: they would be unable to take their place again among the glorified human species in a human life; but still they would be alive "according to God," from God's point of view--a divine life, but "in the spirit" only. It was a gospel that Christ preached to them, for without it they would not have come to "live according to God" at all. Yet, on the other hand, it was a warning to the Christians. When it says "the gospel was preached to the dead also," it implies a similar preaching to others, viz., to the heathen who were to "give account," and that the result of the preaching would be the same. Those heathen who through ignorance lived corrupt lives all around, might possibly, in the intermediate state, hope to receive a gospel which would enable a bare half of their humanity to live according to God hereafter. It could not avert the destruction of their flesh. What, then, could be the hope of a Christian, one who had heard and embraced the gospel in this life, and had then surrendered himself to the same corruptions as the Gentiles?

Verse 6. - For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead. The conjunction "for" seems to link this verse closely to ver. 5, while the καί ("also" or "even") gives an emphasis to" them that are dead" (καὶ νεκροῖς). We naturally refer these last words to the καὶ νεκρούς of the preceding verse. The apostle seems to be meeting an objection. The Thessalonian Christians feared lest believers who fell asleep before the second advent should lose something of the blessedness of those who should be alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord. On the other hand, some of St. Peter's readers may, perhaps, have thought that those who had passed away before the gospel times could not be justly judged in the same way as those who then were living. The two classes, the living and the dead, were separated by a great difference: the living had heard the gospel, the dead had not; the living had opportunities and privileges which had not been granted to the dead. But, St. Peter says, the gospel was preached also to the dead; they too heard the glad tidings of salvation (καὶ νεκροῖς εὐηγγελίσθη). Some have thought that the word "dead" is used metaphorically for the dead in trespasses and sins. But it seems scarcely possible to give the word a literal sense in ver. 5 and a metaphorical sense in ver. 6. Some understand the apostle as meaning that the gospel had been preached to those who then were dead, before their death; but it seems unnatural to assign different times to the verb and the substantive. The aorist εὐηγγελίσθη directs our thoughts to some definite occasion. The absence of the article (καὶ νεκροῖς) should also be noticed; the words assert that the gospel was preached to dead persons - to some that were (lead. These considerations lead us to connect the passage with 1 Peter 3:19, 20. There St. Peter tells us that Christ himself went and preached in the spirit "to the spirits in prison;" then the gospel was preached, the good news of salvation was announced, to some that were dead. The article is absent both here and in ver. 5 (ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς). All men, quick and dead alike, must appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; so St. Peter may not have intended to limit the area of the Lord's preaching in Hades here, as he had done in 1 Peter 3. There he mentioned one section only of the departed; partly because the Deluge furnished a conspicuous example of men who suffered for evil-doing, partly because he regarded it as a striking type of Christian baptism. Here, perhaps, he asserts the general fact - the gospel was preached to the dead; perhaps (we may not presume to dogmatize in a matter so mysterious, about which so little is revealed) to all the vast population of the underworld, who had passed away before the gospel times. Like the men of Tyre and Sidon, of Sodom and Gomorrah, they had not seen the works or heard the words of Christ during their life on the earth; now they heard from the Lord himself what he had done for the salvation of mankind. Therefore God was ready to judge the quick and the dead, for to both was the gospel preached. That they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. The gospel was preached to the dead for this end (εἰς τοῦτο), that they might be judged indeed (ἵνκριθῶσι μέν), but nevertheless live (ζῶσι δέ). The last clause expresses the end and purpose of the preaching; the former clause, though grammatically dependent upon the conjunction ἵνα, states a necessity antecedent to the preaching (comp. Romans 6:17, "God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart;" and Romans 8:10, "If Christ be in you, the body indeed is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness." The meaning seems to be - the gospel was preached to the dead, that, though they were judged, yet they might live. They had suffered the judgment of death, the punishment of human sin. Christ had been put to death in the flesh (1 Peter 3:18) for the sins of others; the dead had suffered death in the flesh for their own sins. They had died before the manifestation of the Son of God, before the great work of atonement wrought by his death; but that atonement was retrospective - he "taketh away the sin of the world;" its saving influences extended even to the realm of the dead. The gospel was preached to the dead, that, though they were judged according to men (that is, after the fashion of men, as all men are judged), yet they might live in the spirit (comp. 1 Corinthians 5:5, "To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus"). The verb κριθῶσι, "might he judged," is aorist, as describing a single fact; the verb ζῶσι, "might live," is present, as describing a continual state. According to God. God is Spirit; and as they that worship him must worship in spirit, so they who believe in him shall live in spirit. The future life is a spiritual life; the resurrection-bodies of the saints will be spiritual bodies, for" flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." But κατὰ Θεόν may also mean "according to the will of God" (as in Romans 8:27), according to his gracious purpose, and in that life which he giveth to his chosen, that eternal life which lieth in the knowledge of God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. For, for this cause was the Gospel preached also,.... Not for what goes before, because Christ was ready to judge quick and dead; and because wicked men must give an account to him, and therefore the Gospel is preached to them also, that they may be left without excuse; but for what follows, and which does not so much design the reason of the preaching of it, as the event consequential upon it. By the Gospel is meant the good news of the incarnation, sufferings, and death of Christ, and salvation by him: and includes all the doctrines of grace, as of pardon, righteousness, and eternal life; and by its being "preached" is meant the publishing of it openly, freely, and boldly, with faithfulness and consistence: the persons to whom it was preached are

to them that are dead; not in a figurative sense, dead in trespasses and sins; though this is the case of all mankind, and of God's elect, in a state of nature, whether Jews or Gentiles; and the Gospel is preached to such, as it is ordered to be preached to all nations, to every creature, and is the means of quickening dead sinners; and this follows upon it, that such as receive it are judged and condemned by men, and live spiritually here, according to the will of God, and an eternal life hereafter; but the word "dead" is used in the same sense as in the preceding verse, where it manifestly signifies such who had been alive, but were now dead in a natural sense, whom Christ would judge as well as those that will be found alive when he comes; wherefore the Gospel has been preached also to them that are already dead, as well as to those who are now alive. And by these are meant, not the dead, whose souls are in hell, for to them, there, the Gospel never was, nor never will be preached, nor they saved, as Origen, and his followers, have vainly thought: nor the deceased patriarchs, before the coming of Christ, whose souls, by the Papists, are said to be in "Limbus", whither Christ, they say, went upon his death, and preached to them, and delivered them; but these never were in any such place, but in peace and rest; nor did Christ, in his human soul, descend thither, but went to paradise: nor the dead in general, before the apostle's writing of this epistle; for though the Gospel had been preached from the beginning, from the fall of Adam, to certain persons, and at certain periods of time, yet not to all the individuals of mankind who were then dead, especially in the Gentile world; nor the Old Testament saints in general, who were now dead, though they had the Gospel preached to them in types and figures, in promises and prophesies; nor the men in the times of Noah, to whom the Gospel was preached by him, and who, some of them, as supposed, though they were judged and punished in their bodies in the view of men, being drowned in the waters of the flood, yet repenting and believing, upon Noah's preaching to them, they live in their spirits in eternal life, according to the free mercy and grace of God; but though the Gospel was preached to them, yet they remained disobedient to it, even all of them, but Noah's family, for anything that appears; and are styled the world of the ungodly, and are now spirits in the prison of hell, and therefore cannot be said to live according to God in the Spirit: but such are intended, to whom the Gospel had been preached, and to whom it had been effectual unto salvation; who had received it in the love of it, had sincerely professed it, and had suffered for it even death itself; such are designed who had suffered in the flesh, or were dead in their bodies, 1 Peter 4:1 who either were dead in the Lord, or especially had suffered death for his sake, as Stephen and others: and this, with what follows, is mentioned with a general view to encourage the saints to patient suffering for Christ; to fortify them against the ill opinion and judgment the world have formed of them; and to assure them, that Christ will judge his people, both quick and dead, and avenge their cause, since the Gospel has been preached to one as well as to another, and attended with the same power: the effect and consequence of which is,

that they might be judged according to men in the flesh; meaning, either that such persons that receive and profess the Gospel, and suffer for it, are judged according to the judgment of men that are in the flesh, in an unregenerate estate, that is, carnal men, to be a strange and unaccountable sort of people, as in 1 Peter 4:4 to receive such a strange set of notions, so strenuously to contend for them, and so constantly to abide by them, and to debar themselves of so many pleasures of life, and expose themselves to so much reproach and shame, to such dangers, and even to death itself: while they are judged to be by these men enthusiasts, madmen and fools; and at other times to be knaves and villains, hypocrites and deceivers; and this is the common effect of the Gospel being preached and coming with power to any; see 1 Corinthians 4:3 or the sense is, that such persons, according to men, or in their apprehensions, are judged of God, or have the judgments of God inflicted on them in their flesh, in their bodies, for some sins of theirs; and therefore they suffer what they do in the flesh, vengeance pursuing them; being ignorant that when they are judged, as they reckon it, they are only chastened by the Lord in a fatherly way, that they might not be eternally condemned with the world, 1 Corinthians 11:32 or else to complete the sense, for all may be taken into it, these persons, who were formerly alive, but now dead, and had embraced and professed the Gospel preached to them, were judged and condemned, and put to death in the flesh, according to the will of wicked men, and which was all that they were capable of;

but though this was their case, though they were thus judged, censured, and condemned, yet

live according to God in the Spirit; while they were here on earth, the Gospel preached to them had such an effect upon them, as to cause them to live spiritually, to live by faith on Christ, to live a life of holiness from him, and communion with him, and to live according to the will of God, in righteousness and true holiness; and now, though dead in their bodies, they live in their spirits or souls an eternal life of comfort, peace, pleasure, and happiness with God, according to his eternal purpose, unchangeable covenant, promise, grace, and love. 6. For—giving the reason for 1Pe 4:5, "judge the dead."

gospel preached also to … dead—as well as to them now living, and to them that shall be found alive at the coming of the Judge. "Dead" must be taken in the same literal sense as in 1Pe 4:5, which refutes the explanation "dead" in sins. Moreover, the absence of the Greek article does not necessarily restrict the sense of "dead" to particular dead persons, for there is no Greek article in 1Pe 4:5 also, where "the dead" is universal in meaning. The sense seems to be, Peter, as representing the true attitude of the Church in every age, expecting Christ at any moment, says, The Judge is ready to judge the quick and dead—the dead, I say, for they, too, in their lifetime, have had the Gospel preached to them, that so they might be judged at last in the same way as those living now (and those who shall be so when Christ shall come), namely, "men in the flesh," and that they might, having escaped condemnation by embracing the Gospel so preached, live unto God in the spirit (though death has passed over their flesh), Lu 20:38, thus being made like Christ in death and in life (see on [2621]1Pe 3:18). He says, "live," not "made alive" or quickened; for they are supposed to have been already "quickened together with Christ" (Eph 2:5). This verse is parallel to 1Pe 3:18; compare Note, see on [2622]1Pe 3:18. The Gospel, substantially, was "preached" to the Old Testament Church; though not so fully as to the New Testament Church. It is no valid objection that the Gospel has not been preached to all that shall be found dead at Christ's coming. For Peter is plainly referring only to those within reach of the Gospel, or who might have known God through His ministers in Old and New Testament times. Peter, like Paul, argues that those found living at Christ's coming shall have no advantage above the dead who shall then be raised, inasmuch as the latter live unto, or "according to," God, even already in His purpose. Alford's explanation is wrong, "that they might be judged according to men as regards the flesh," that is, be in the state of the completed sentence on sin, which is death after the flesh. For "judged" cannot have a different meaning in this verse from what "judge" bears in 1Pe 4:5. "Live according to God" means, live a life with God, such as God lives, divine; as contrasted with "according to men in the flesh," that is, a life such as men live in the flesh.4:1-6 The strongest and best arguments against sin, are taken from the sufferings of Christ. He died to destroy sin; and though he cheerfully submitted to the worst sufferings, yet he never gave way to the least sin. Temptations could not prevail, were it not for man's own corruption; but true Christians make the will of God, not their own lust or desires, the rule of their lives and actions. And true conversion makes a marvellous change in the heart and life. It alters the mind, judgment, affections, and conversation. When a man is truly converted, it is very grievous to him to think how the time past of his life has been spent. One sin draws on another. Six sins are here mentioned which have dependence one upon another. It is a Christian's duty, not only to keep from gross wickedness, but also from things that lead to sin, or appear evil. The gospel had been preached to those since dead, who by the proud and carnal judgment of wicked men were condemned as evil-doers, some even suffering death. But being quickened to Divine life by the Holy Spirit, they lived to God as his devoted servants. Let not believers care, though the world scorns and reproaches them.
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