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Alive in Christ

1 Peter 4.6
For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

In 1 Peter 4.1-6 Peter essentially is telling us to not be controlled by the past. People who have been born again through faith in Christ (see 1 Peter 1.23) should not allow the old life to control them. The past has been buried, and they are new people in Christ. Furthermore, life is too short to waste it on godless living, especially when you realize that one day we will all stand before God.

With the above summary in mind, Peter begins verse 6 with a purpose clause: for this is why. I think this follows on the idea of a universal divine judgment, but the reason or purpose of the preaching is not given until the end of the verse.

Peter continues by saying: the gospel was preached even to those who are dead. The people to whom the apostle refers may have been Christians who had heard Peter preach but who had died by the time he wrote the letter.

Finally, Peter writes: judged in the flesh. This is probably a reference to the physical death of the hearers. Although Christ has triumphed over physical death in His death and resurrection (see Romans 6.9), the full extent of that victory has not yet been manifested in the lives of God’s people, and physical death is a reality Christians still face. Nevertheless, believers now enjoy spiritual resurrection through their union with Christ; they have full assurance that Christ’s victory will be extended to their physical bodies (see 1 Corinthians 15.25-26 and Romans 8.11).

Take some time today to thank Christ for His victory over sin and death. For His victory is our victory! We participate in Christ’s victory through our faith and trust in Him alone for our forgiveness of sins and salvation. Through Christ’s death and resurrection we are alive in Him forevermore!

Pastor Jeff
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