For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. (1 Peter 4:3, NKJV)
Look carefully at this Scripture’s description of the “past lifetime” spent in “doing the will of the Gentiles,” instead of doing “the will of God” (1 Pet. 4:2). One thing all these sins have in common is the absence of self-control. From the sinful indulgence of lewd words and actions, to all manner of evil cravings, to drunkenness, carousing and the drinking parties that lead to excess, to the abominations of idolatry formed by unbelief – self-control is forfeited when these sins are practiced. Purity of heart protects us against lascivious, lustful conduct. Sober-mindedness refuses even the first drink of mind-numbing alcohol which, left unrestrained, invariably progresses to debauchery and drunkenness. Those who have armed themselves with the mind of Christ do not adopt the ways of unbelievers, much less defend those ways (1 Pet. 4:1-2). It grieves us when Christians defend the occasional consumption of alcohol, for it indicates a mind that is still “doing the will of the Gentiles,” instead of the will of God. Today’s tip: Put away all the sins of the past, exercise self-control, and live for the will of God today and every day.
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1–2, NKJV)
Christ suffered for us; “the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18). His suffering in the flesh compels Christians to equip ourselves with His mind or attitude; the decision to do good and, if need be, “to suffer for doing good” (1 Pet. 3:17; 4:1). Contrary to the “health and wealth gospel” taught by false teachers, being a Christian does not free one from suffering. The devoted Christian accepts a life of suffering for doing the will of God. In verse two, Peter says such suffering includes no longer living to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Our devotion is to the will of God. Even when your former companions in sin think you are odd, and speak evil of you for no longer joining them in sin, remember that you have “ceased from sin” and cannot continue to practice it (1 Pet. 4:3-4, 1). Peer pressure is powerful, but we must see it for what it is; the attempt of sinful people to draw us into sinning along with them. Resist. Suffer (when it comes to that). Live for the will of God. Do not live for the lusts of men.
17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. (Jude 17–19, NKJV)
In contrast to the flattering words of false teachers (whose objective is personal advantage, Jude 16), the words of the apostles are sound and solid, saving souls from eternal ruin. Those who mock the apostolic doctrine do so at their own peril. Driven by lusts and causing divisions, false teachers do not have the Spirit of God, because they are not following the word given to us by the Spirit (Jno. 16:13). And, please notice the cause of division is the one who walks in his own desires and refuses to follow the apostles’ words (1 Cor. 14:37). Let us learn, remember and walk by the apostles’ teaching, which is “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. (Jude 16, NKJV)
Jude gives essential warnings to Christians of false teachers who would creep in among them and corrupt the purity of the faith (Jude 3-4). He also describes these deniers of “the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” – we are not left wondering who fits the description. They are marked as complainers who murmur against the truth and the Lord who gave it. They use their words to gain an advantage over others in order to promote their personal, lustful agenda – not the gospel of Christ. Flattery is a hallmark of partiality and deception (Rom. 16:18). It builds someone up, not with godly edification, but with a facade of respect. The apostles of Christ did not preach with words of flattery, but with the sober words of truth and reason (Acts 26:25). Like Jude, we must unmask the frothy fawning of false teachers to see their message elevates themselves and not the Lord Jesus Christ. And, we can only do that when we know the Scriptures, live the Scriptures, and love them more than men and their praise.
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22, NKJV)
The best way to avoid the lusts of youth is to run away from them. Young people often think they are bulletproof – invincible. But, wisdom teaches us that youth is tempted by curiosity and pride; a dangerous combination for any age when the temptation is to fulfill lust. Keep your heart pure by running after such things as “righteousness, faith, love, peace”. These fortify you against the lust of the flesh. Honorable conduct, driven by your faith and love for God, will lead you to fear God and obey Him by abstaining from every form of evil (1 Thess. 5:22). Then you will have genuine peace of mind, body and soul. Do not say a young person cannot flee lust; they can and they must (1 Cor. 10:13; Psa. 119:9). “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” is still God’s assurance, regardless of your age (Jas. 4:7).
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.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:14, NKJV)
Having already told Christians to wake up and clean up, the apostle now tells us to grow up (Rom. 13:11-13). While it is true we put on Christ when we “first believed” (when we were baptized into Christ, Gal. 3:27), we must continue to clothe ourselves with the Lord. Successful godly living requires spiritual growth in order to make decisions that glorify God and avoid sin. If we fail to grow up in Christ it will become easier to provide for sin. Do not plan to sin. Guard your heart against lustful thinking and cast off the darkness that gives occasion to fulfilling sinful desires. Starve the flesh of sinful lusts; put it to death. Be clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ. Be filled with and comforted by His righteous truth. He abundantly provides all things for life and godliness. Remember, salvation is nearer than when you first believed (Rom. 13:11).