New International Reader's Version

1 Peter 4

Living for God

1Christ suffered in his body. So prepare yourselves to think in the same way Christ did. Do this because whoever suffers in their body is finished with sin. As a result, they don’t live the rest of their earthly life for evil human desires. Instead, they live to do what God wants. You have spent enough time in the past doing what ungodly people choose to do. You lived a wild life. You longed for evil things. You got drunk. You went to wild parties. You worshiped statues of gods, which the Lord hates. Ungodly people are surprised that you no longer join them in what they do. They want you to join them in their wild and wasteful living. So they say bad things about you. But they will have to explain their actions to God. He is ready to judge those who are alive and those who are dead. That’s why the good news was preached even to people who are now dead. It was preached to them for two reasons. It was preached so that their bodies might be judged. This judgment is made by human standards. But the good news was also preached so that their spirits might live. This life comes by means of God’s power.

The end of all things is near. So be watchful and control yourselves. Then you may pray. Most of all, love one another deeply. Love erases many sins by forgiving them. Welcome others into your homes without complaining. 10 God’s gifts of grace come in many forms. Each of you has received a gift in order to serve others. You should use it faithfully. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do it as one speaking God’s words. If anyone serves, they should do it with the strength God provides. Then in all things God will be praised through Jesus Christ. Glory and power belong to him for ever and ever. Amen.

Suffering for Being a Christian

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised by the terrible things happening to you. The trouble you are having has come to test you. So don’t feel as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be joyful that you are taking part in Christ’s sufferings. Then you will have even more joy when Christ returns in glory. 14 Suppose people say bad things about you because you believe in Christ. Then you are blessed, because God’s Spirit rests on you. He is the Spirit of glory. 15 If you suffer, it shouldn’t be because you are a murderer. It shouldn’t be because you are a thief or someone who does evil things. It shouldn’t be because you interfere with other people’s business. 16 But suppose you suffer for being a Christian. Then don’t be ashamed. Instead, praise God because you are known by the name of Christ. 17 It is time for judgment to begin with the household of God. And since it begins with us, what will happen to people who don’t obey God’s good news? 18 Scripture says,

“Suppose it is hard for godly people to be saved.
    Then what will happen to ungodly people and sinners?” (Proverbs 11:31)

19 Here is what people who suffer because of God’s plan should do. They should commit themselves to their faithful Creator. And they should continue to do good.