Departed Years
1 Peter 4:3-5
For the time past of our life may suffice us to have worked the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts…

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.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

WEB: For we have spent enough of our past time doing the desire of the Gentiles, and having walked in lewdness, lusts, drunken binges, orgies, carousings, and abominable idolatries.

Counteracting the Good
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