1 Peter 4:3
For you have spent enough time in the past carrying out the same desires as the pagans: living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and detestable idolatry.
The Time Past, a Sermon for the Last Day of the YearJ.R. Thomson 1 Peter 4:3
Cardinal TruthsJ. J. S. Bird.1 Peter 4:1-6
Christ the Grand Necessity of ManD. Thomas, D. D.1 Peter 4:1-6
Christ's SufferingsD. Thomas, D. D.1 Peter 4:1-6
Coming to JudgmentR. Finlayson 1 Peter 4:1-6
Conformity with ChristAbp. Leighton.1 Peter 4:1-6
Ecce HomoA. Rowland, LL. B.1 Peter 4:1-6
God's Win1 Peter 4:1-6
Living to God's WillU. R. Thomas.1 Peter 4:1-6
Men's Lusts Opposed to God's WillJohn Rogers.1 Peter 4:1-6
Sin PiercedJ. Trapp.1 Peter 4:1-6
The Flesh Rightly UsedG. Calthrop.1 Peter 4:1-6
The Rest of His Time in the FleshF. B. Meyer, B. A.1 Peter 4:1-6
The Right Use of the Residue of Our TimeD. Thomas, D. D.1 Peter 4:1-6
The Time in the FleshHomilist1 Peter 4:1-6
The Will of GodF. B. Meyer, B. A.1 Peter 4:1-6
Will of GodJohn Bate.1 Peter 4:1-6
The Persecuted Christian Reminded of the Necessity of Suffering for RighteousnessC. New 1 Peter 4:1-7
A Sinner Changed by GraceG. Burder.1 Peter 4:3-5
AmusementsD. Thomas, D. D.1 Peter 4:3-5
Christian ConsistencyThe Evangelist1 Peter 4:3-5
Counteracting the GoodH. F. Kohlbrugge, D. D.1 Peter 4:3-5
Departed YearsD. Thomas, D. D.1 Peter 4:3-5
Excess of RiotC. Wordsworth.1 Peter 4:3-5
PleasureT. Adams.1 Peter 4:3-5
The Consideration of Misspent Time an Incentive to RepentanceJohn Rogers.1 Peter 4:3-5
The Old Year and the NewH. W. Beecher.1 Peter 4:3-5
The Pleasures of a Holy Life Inexplicable to the UngodlyJ. Spencer.1 Peter 4:3-5
The Voice of the PastA London Suburban Minister1 Peter 4:3-5
Living to the Will of GodU.R. Thomas 1 Peter 4:3-6
Every day and every moment closes and commences a year; yet the artificial arrangement by which it is agreed that a year shall close at one certain fixed moment of a certain fixed day is an arrangement both convenient and contributive in many ways to our moral and religious advantage. The review of the closing year is a very proper, and may be a very profitable, exercise. The newspapers review the events of the year which are of political, financial, or commercial interest. Man has, however, higher interests - those which are moral and spiritual. It is desirable that we should take a retrospect of "the time past," with a view of tracing God's providential dealings with us, with a view of estimating our own spiritual progress, and of learning lessons of wisdom and of helpfulness.


1. Its passage has been rapid, yet it has been filled with events of great importance.

2. It is perfectly irrecoverable; we cannot live the expiring year over again.

3. It has left ineffaceable traces upon our character. We are all changed by its influences, its occupations, its lessons - some for the better, some for the worse.

4. It is not forgotten by the Lord and Judge of all. In this sense he "requireth that which is past."


1. His first and most prominent thought should be of the mercy and loving-kindness of God revealed to him as the days and weeks have passed by.

2. Especially should he remember the long-suffering and forbearance which has been displayed towards him by his heavenly Father upon repeated occasions, when such consideration has been called for by failures in duty and by forgetfulness of Divine love.

3. He should remember with regret and repentance the opportunities of obedience and usefulness which he has neglected.

4. Nor should he lose sight of the discipline which he may have been called upon to endure, and which he should remember, not with a rebellious, but with a submissive spirit.


1. He should remember with humiliation and shame that he has broken the Law of God, and rejected the gospel of Christ.

2. He should reflect upon the evil influence which his example of religion has exercised over his fellow-men, especially over those within his family and social circle.

3. He should consider that he is the worse at the end of the year than at its beginning, because of his delay to repent and to commence by God's grace a new and better life.


1. We may be helped to realize the brevity of life, and the uncertainty and probable brevity especially of what of life yet remains.

2. We may be induced to turn away from the evil which has been indulged in during bygone years, and to enter upon the holier life and more consecrated service which our conscience approves and enjoins. The sands are fast falling; the tide is fast ebbing; the light is fast fading. Let the future see our vows fulfilled, our hopes realized, our aims achieved! - J.R.T.

The time past of our life may suffice us.
1. The time spent in sin, we know how much it is, but what is behind we know not. The devil is sure of his part, but what God shall have, whether half or a quarter, so much is uncertain. If we knew we should live twenty years more to serve God as we have done twenty years in sin, God should have but the half, but we know not whether we shall live twenty days. Should we then defer?

2. Time is very precious, above gold and silver, and hereof we have squandered a great part.

3. There is no time to be spent in sin, but we are to serve God in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life. Therefore, having robbed Him of some of His due, is it not well He will take this that remains?

4. Whatsoever time is spent till we return to God is all going out of the way; and if a man hath gone out of the way but till eight or nine o'clock, assuredly that is more than enough.

5. Whatsoever time is spent that way is but doing that that must be undone again and repented of. Is not a little of this too much? Who will willingly so do his work that it must be ravelled out again?

6. All that is done this way is for the devil, our sworn enemy, for whom even the least is too much; for the flesh, to which we owe nothing; and for the world, which is our deadly enemy.

7. It is all done against God, to whom we owe all; and is it not then sufficient we have wronged Him so far?

8. And all is against our own souls; and have we not wounded them enough already?

(John Rogers.)

What is time? Without regard to philosophic niceties, I may say that it is limited duration, vouchsafed to man for moral purposes, through the mediation of Christ.

I. AS A PORTION OF PROBATIONARY EXISTENCE. "Time past of our life." Take three views of the years that have departed.

1. Look at what they have given us.

2. Look at what they have taken away from us. The warm impulses and tender sensibilities of childhood and youth. Precious gifts are these! What friends are gone!

3. Look at what they have left us. They have left us life, reason, memory, religious privileges, augmented responsibility, wider memories, and greater power for good and evil. Many precious germs of blessedness.

II. AS A COURSE OF WRONG MORAL CONDUCT. The apostle intimates that those to whom he wrote had, during the past years, "wrought the will of the Gentiles." During the time past of their lives they had not been passive but active. What was this will of the Gentiles? The will of corrupt humanity. Nothing more, nothing less. Every wheel in its vast and complicated machinery is moved and ruled by this. It is true that this will works in different men with different instruments and under different phases of character. Its language in some is vulgar, in others classic; in some obscene, in others refined.

1. That this will is generally the ruling power in the first stages of man's history.

2. That there is a danger even of good men yielding to its influence.

III. AS AN ARGUMENT FOR IMMEDIATE IMPROVEMENT. "For the time past of our life may suffice," etc. The urgency of this will appear from two considerations.

1. The will of God ought to have swayed with an absolute power from the commencement of our responsible life.

2. All the time that has been spent in neglect of this has been spent in contracting guilt and increasing our exposure to ruin.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

A London Suburban Minister.
Life! What mystery is wrapped up in life! How great the power needed to originate it! What transcendent worth be longs to human life! to —

I. "OUR LIFE." "Our life" is redeemed life. It was great to speak a world from nought; greater to create moral life and fashion it after the Divine original; greatest to redeem.

II. "THE PAST OF LIFE." How little we know of the past — taking the word in its comprehensive relationship to the world! As question of history we know something of the world's civilisation, science, art, human laws, etc. But what do we know of the individual experience of mankind — its joys and sorrows? But there is a past for which God holds us responsible — an individual past.

III. "THE TIME PAST OF OUR LIFE." Nothing that I have is my own. I belong to God, in body, soul, and spirit. I am, therefore, accountable to Him for my time. Life is God's loan to man, and time man's "life rent of the world." In the great day we are to stand before God to give an account of our stewardship. The "life rent" which the great Proprietor claims is service. He has put us into His beautiful world to make it more beautiful by adding moral to material beauty. If we fail to render this service we shall lose our life, in a sense which human language is not adequate to express. "And now what have we to say with respect to this strange, solemn thing — Time? — that men do with it through life just what the apostles did for one precious irreparable hour of it in the garden of Gethsemane — they go to sleep! What opportunities have we lost! What privileges forfeited! What work for God neglected!" The secret of all the failures which have been enumerated is expressed by the apostle in one word, self-will — "the will of the Gentiles." Man doing his own will is the history of the world's sin and woe. Adoption into the family of God does not exempt us from its insidious workings. "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" asks us to let the past "suffice to have wrought the wilt of the Gentiles," to renew our early vows, our first love, to be henceforth inspired with the holy ambition to be "conformed to the image of His Son." To attain unto this we must yield our wills to God. What are we living for? — for God or for self?

(A London Suburban Minister.)

Look at the qualities that are here forbidden. Lust, lasciviousness, drunkenness, carousings — all these are especially mentioned; and the apostle declares that the time past suffices. You have had experience enough in regard to those things; it is time to leave them. There are multitudes of men that are sacking their very constitution; for whatever may be the opinions of men as to the morality of lascivious conduct, there can be no doubt as to the folly of it. And what shall I say of the concurrent danger of drunkenness, or excessive indulgence of the appetite? Surely I need not point out how base the life of a man is whose whole being circles around about that carnal, animal appetite; upon whom the habit is growing, and, like a maelstrom, swings into its centre, destroying everything that is pure and beautiful that comes near it. It sacks and ransacks the whole nobility of a man. The time past is sufficient for such things. But then there are a great many men that do not consider themselves either lascivious or drunkards. Nevertheless, carousings are familiar to them. What an ignoble way of living to make the whole of life consist, not in building up, but in the commerce of the lower feelings, and the prostitution of the sanctities of friendship to make the friendship of the cup, in all that wild excitement which breeds no single new idea, cleanses no single passion, throws light upon no single element of beauty, but is pure buoyancy of the flesh and the enjoyment of animal life! Higher than these, but still under the ban, are all forms of life where feeling and endeavour are concentrated upon frivolous social enjoyments, with their very selfishness and vanity and pride. I would not restrict the enjoyment of the young, except it trenched upon higher and nobler obligations. I love elasticity of spirit, overflow of pleasantry. All these things I believe belong to life; and just as much under the gospel as outside of it — yea, more. Now in regard to these passions, and the lower forms of intense self-indulgence particularly, the apostle is speaking here, and says, "The time past ought to suffice." All these wastes and degradations ought to cease absolutely. They shut out a man's reason. They shut out his best nature. They stand in the way of the accomplishment of the final ends of life. There are times when all these indulgences may be left. The time past gives men sufficient experience and knowledge, both of their uselessness and of their wastefulness, and also of their peril; and that is the time when men should stop and say, "Well, I have had enough of that, now and forever." Time enough to bring the higher qualities of your mind to sit in judgment over the lower. The conscience is Chief Justice. Call up those criminal appetites. Let them hear the judge decide, and follow the decision. The time past is sufficient for knowledge and for judgment. That which is true of these lower passions and appetites is lust as true of the higher and inanimate one of a frivolous, self-indulgent, wasteful life that proposes nothing, but dances on from hour to hour, with no more purpose than the butterflies or the insects of a summer day have. The time past is sufficient. Now, allow me to ask you: Are there not in your life some things palpitating, fresh and warm in your bosom, that you know to be wrong in your career? Is it not time for a change? And if your faults are superficial, if they are simply faults of temper, or of balance in the development of your life outwardly, is there nothing in your home life, is there nothing in your friendship life, is there nothing in your business life, judged by the canons of morality, and still more judged by the higher forms of supreme duty, that needs to be changed? Are you the chief occupant of your own self? or are there vermin that dwell in the cracks and crevices and partitions of the soul house? And if there is something more than faults, if there is something that lies deeper, ought you not, above all, for this to make a solemn pause? Be manly, and take a nobler view of what a man is born for, and of what his duty is to himself, to his fellow men, to society, to God, and to eternity; and form a judgment of your self for the old year; and on that deliberate personal investigation of facts and dispositions in your own case put the question to yourself, "Have not I carried this thing far enough?" If you will do that, you will have taken one step; and will you follow that up by proposing to yourself a deliberate decision? Now, in all these changes that are going on in the human soul it is too often the case that a man says, "I mean to try it; but I am not going to expose myself to ridicule, because I may not be able to carry this thing out; and if I don't, well, nobody will know it, and I will be no worse off than I was before." That is to say, you leave a door of retreat open for yourself. I would not give the turn of my hand for a man's purpose who says he is going to change, but leaves all the old influences at work, and all the means of escape from his resolution at command. It is an illusion, and it is the repetition of these things that discourages men finally, and makes them believe they cannot reform and cannot do what they ought to do. If you are going to make a decision, do it on business principles. As all resolutions are so fugitive, so unstable, and as experience has shown that they are so unless when a man wants to correct a habit, commit yourself. What is the effect of committing yourself? Your pride and your vanity now work toward you and for you, whereas otherwise they would work against you. It is going with the current, instead of against it; with the wind, instead of against the wind. Therefore, hedge yourself; trust in somebody. Now is the time for thought; now is the time for purpose; now is the time for declaring your purpose; now is the time to begin. Whatever changes are necessary, will you make them now?

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. THE WALK OF A NATURAL MAN DESCRIBED. He works "the will of the Gentiles," and lives in sin.

II. THE GREAT CHANGE THAT THE GRACE OF GOD MAKES IN A NATURAL MAN. The change we mean is far more than the mere reformation of a sinner's life; it is an inward, supernatural change wrought by the Spirit of God, and by means of the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16).


1. Sin is a dreadful waste of precious time.

2. Sin is a useless thing.

3. Sin is extremely hurtful and dangerous to ourselves and others.

4. Sin is highly dishonourable to the blessed God.

5. A life of sin is directly contrary to our Christian profession.

IV. THE USAGE WHICH A CHANGED PERSON MAY EXPECT TO MEET WITH FROM A WICKED WORLD. Now, here observe that where such a change as this takes place it is visible; for if the world did not see it, they could not hate it. The change cannot be hid. Carnal companions will be deserted; places of vain amusement forsaken. This will excite hatred. "The carnal mind is enmity against God," and everything godly and Godlike (Romans 8:7).

(G. Burder.)

The Evangelist.
I. THE WORLD SILENTLY CONDEMNED BY THE CHURCH. This is often done not so much positively as negatively. It is very peculiar, for they condemn them without saying a word, simply by "not running into the same excess of riot"; and this, it seems, is exceedingly well understood by the worldly party. Noah condemned the world by what he did, as well as by what he said; every stroke of his hammer was a sermon. The marked avoidance of the prevailing sins and follies of the world is often felt to be a powerful condemnation of them. But why should Christians thus refuse to mingle themselves up with the evil of the world?

1. Love to Christ requires it. "Forasmuch, then, as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves, therefore, with the same mind."

2. The painful remembrance of the past prompts it. "The time past may suffice to have wrought the will of the Gentiles." It is always a sad thought to the Christian to look back upon his past devotedness to the sins of the world.

3. Christian consistency requires it. "Let every one depart from iniquity." A wicked life in a Christian is an indignity committed upon his Master in the disguise of a friend, and an outrage against the gospel. It seems to declare either that this religion tolerates immorality, or that it has not sufficient authority to enforce its own laws.

4. Your own highest interests demand it.


1. In their thoughts. "They think it strange that ye run not into this excess of riot"; but pardon me if I say they would think it stranger if you did. They may dislike you now, but they would certainly despise you then. "They think it strange." Why? Because they know nothing of the high standard of excellence which Christians possess; nor of the elevated principles by which they are actuated; nor of the superior sources of pleasure which are open to them. The Christian and the worldly man have both reason to wonder at each other. The worldling wonders that the Christian loves Christ so much: the Christian wonders that the worldling loves Him so little.

2. In their speeches. They speak evil of you, and contemptuously, as precise, formal, unsocial, repulsive. The Jews spoke evil of the prophets; Ahab spoke evil of Micaiah: "I hate him, for he always prophesies evil of me." The disciples were "a sect everywhere spoken against."

3. In their writings. Pliny wrote to the Roman emperor to complain of the Christian converts, as addicted to a morose and severe superstition. Infidel and irreligious men have indited many a sarcasm against the Christian cause.

4. By their conduct. That is, towards Christians, whom they persecute in various ways.

III. THE JUDGMENT OF GOD CONCERNING BOTH. "Who shall judge both quick and dead."

1. The certainty of the judgment. "They shall give an account."

2. The speediness of the judgment. "He is ready to judge."

3. The universality of the judgment. "The quick and dead."

4. The consequences of the judgment. The awards of eternity are final, and they are extreme.

(The Evangelist.)

God's law is a guide which conducts surely to the goal. His precepts are nought but communications of free favour. But what does the blinded world see in these precepts, testimonies, and statutes? First, we are told, it surprises, seems unaccountable to them, that believers run not in their ways. They put on an air of astonishment when you decline doing so. "Why then," they ask, "do you refuse? Thousands upon thousands are on this side, and among them so many men of note, so many prominent members both in Church and State!" But we are told they blaspheme all who are not moved from their stedfastness. Their blasphemy consists, first, in their accusing God's true witnesses of blasphemy. They stand up and say, "This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law"; or, this is the man "that teacheth all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place" (Acts 6:13; Acts 21:28). They abide by the old slander, "We have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5). To the righteous acts of the pious man unworthy motives are attributed, and he is made a mark for the arrows of evil tongues, solely because he seeks the good of Israel all his life long. If he rest in the promises of God, even these are made the subject of mockery! But such blasphemy and pretended surprise is very painful to the righteous, and a real snare to their feet, out of which they do indeed need to be helped. How often are the weak, and even the apparently strong in faith, induced for a time to run with those who make either a mock or a sport of sin! Yes, verily, nothing short of almighty grace will suffice to enable a man calmly to take on himself the dishonour with which his Lord was dishonoured, and to bear with a chivalrous courage the contempt and shame which, for Christ's name's sake, the world heaps upon him!

(H. F. Kohlbrugge, D. D.)

The Roman soldiers, at the sacking of Jerusalem, entered the temple, and went into the Sanctum Sanctorum; but seeing no images there, as they used to have in their own idolatrous temple, gave out in a jeer that the Jews worshipped the clouds. And thus because the pleasures of righteousness and holiness are not so gross as to come under the cognisance of the world's carnal senses (as their brutish ones do), therefore they laugh at the saints, as if their joy were but the child of fancy, and they do but embrace a cloud instead of Juno herself, a fantastic pleasure for the true; but let such know that they carry in their bosom what will help them to think the pleasures of a holy life more real, and that the power of holiness is so far from depriving a man of the joy and pleasure of his life, that there are incomparable delights and pleasures peculiar to the holy life, which the gracious soul finds in the ways of righteousness.

(J. Spencer.)

A strong and expressive metaphor, especially in countries where, after violent rain, the gutters are suddenly swollen and pour their contents together with violence into a common sewer. Such is the apostolic figure of vicious companies rushing together in filthy confusion for reckless indulgence and effusion in sin.

(C. Wordsworth.)

to virtue are like breezes of air to the flame: gentle ones will fan it, but strong ones will put it out.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

must first have the warrant that it is without sin; and then the measure, that it is without excess.

(T. Adams.)

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