5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (1 Peter 4:5–6, NKJV)
God’s assured judgment of sinners, including those practicing the immoral excesses named in this context (1 Peter 4:3), is the very reason the gospel is preached to the world. God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). The world is dead in sin. The gospel of God gives the sinner life out of spiritual death (Rom. 1:16-17; 6:23). Sinners who believe the gospel will obey it by repenting and being baptized (Acts 2:37-41; 1 Pet. 3:21). The result of this is salvation – life “according to God in the spirit.” This new life necessarily compels the saved to “cease from sin” (1 Pet. 4:1). Although the saved sinner will be judged harshly by those who continue to practice sin (see 1 Pet. 4:4), God’s assured forgiveness and promised eternal life confirms our heart and lives in Him. Being reviled for good conduct is but one way we are willing to “suffer in the flesh” because we have “ceased from sin” (1 Pet. 4:1).
10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Romans 6:10-13, NKJV)
Jesus Christ died once for sin, and now, having been raised from the dead, He lives to God (Rom. 6:9). In the same way the person who is “buried with Him through baptism into death” dies to sin and is raised to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). Thus, the Christian is “alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v. 11). This passage presents a problem for those who believe sin indwells every person due to a corrupted nature. Sin is a choice, not inbred by nature. Now that you are in Christ you make the choice not to let sin reign in your mortal body. You choose not to obey its lusts because sin is no longer your master. Jesus is. Therefore, present your body to God to serve righteousness and do not yield to sin’s allurement.