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. Chapter 4.

Good Stewards of God's Grace

1 Remembering that Christ endured bodily suffering, you must arm yourselves with a temper of mind like his. When a man has thus endured bodily suffering he has finished with sin, 2 and for the rest of his days on earth he may live, not for the things that men desire, but for what God wills. 3 You had time enough in the past to do all the things that men want to do in the pagan world. Then you lived in licence and debauchery, drunkenness, revelry, and tippling, and the forbidden worship of idols. 4 Now, when you no longer plunge with them into all this reckless dissipation, they cannot understand it, and they vilify you accordingly; 5 but they shall answer for it to him who stands ready to pass judgement on the living and the dead. 6 Why was the Gospel preached to those who are dead? In order that, although in the body they received the sentence common to men, they might in the spirit be alive with the life of God.

7 The end of all things is upon us, so you must lead an ordered and sober life, given to prayer. 8 Above all, keep your love for one another at full strength, because love cancels innumerable sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Whatever gift each of you may have received, use it in service to one another, like good stewards dispensing the grace of God in its varied forms. 11 Are you a speaker? Speak as if you uttered oracles of God. Do you give service? Give it as in the strength which God supplies.
In all things so act that the glory may be God's through Jesus Christ;
to him belong glory and power for ever and ever.
Amen.

Suffering as a Christian

12 MY DEAR FRIENDS, do not be bewildered by the fiery ordeal that is upon you, as though it were something extraordinary. 13 It gives you a share in Christ's sufferings, and that is cause for joy; and when his glory is revealed, your joy will be triumphant. 14 If Christ's name is flung in your teeth as an insult, count yourselves happy, because then that glorious Spirit which is the Spirit of God is resting upon you. 15 If you suffer, it must not be for murder, theft, or sorcery, [Or: other crime.] nor for infringing the rights of others. 16 But if anyone suffers as a Christian, he should feel it no disgrace, but confess that name to the honour of God.

17 The time has come for the judgement to begin; it is beginning with God's own household. And if it is starting with you, how will it end for those who refuse to obey the gospel of God? 18 [ Pr.11.31. ] It is hard enough is for the righteous to be saved; what then will become of the impious and sinful? 19 So even those who suffer, if it be according to God's will, should commit their souls to him-by doing good; their Maker will not fail them.

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