“For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.” (1 Peter 4:3–5, AV)
Once, I heard a pioneer missionary to Indonesia speak of an incident that he experienced. He was working with a remote village far away from the larger cities. The tribal people with whom he worked spoke differently and dressed quite differently than those in the cities. The men had this strange habit of dressing below the waist with just a gourd covering their private parts. It so happened that one of the tribesmen had to get medical attention. So, the missionary summoned the Missionary Aviation Fellowship, MAF, and flew with the man to the closest city with a hospital.
When they landed at the airport in this large city, the missionary stated that the people gave the tribesman strange looks. The missionary stated that he guessed they had never seen anyone wearing a gourd for clothing before. They must have looked at this man as if he came from another world. He looked quite strange to the new culture of the big city. Both he and the people of the city must have viewed the other as being quite weird.
As believers, our citizenship has been changed. We are citizens of heaven and while we for the most part, do not dress differently than the culture around us, we do appear quite weird to those who are not citizens of heaven. The reason is that we have been clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Thus, we stand out as different from others. Here, Peter describes how different we now look to the world around us.
Before our salvation, we looked just like the world around us. We were driven by our fleshly desires, which manifested a variety of actions. Peter gives us a partial list of these things such as “lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.” The thing is that those outside the kingdom of heaven are quite puzzled when we do not participate in these same things. In fact, they not only think it is weird but they also speak evil of us for not joining in their revelry. I, on more than one occasion, have had people try to lure me into their dissipations.
The point that Peter made was that we as believers are different. The inner transformation that the Spirit has made in our hearts has led us on a better path. We now by nature are different, weird so to speak, from the surrounding culture’s viewpoint. Do not be alarmed by this, for it is normal. Moreover, understand this, there is a day coming when each person will give an account for their actions on this earth. Those who revile you for seeking to live according to God’s purposes will face a day of judgment.
So, continue to seek to live according to the will of God in this world. It is to this you have been called. You are walking in the better way not those who are living according to their fleshly passions. You see, you are otherworldly, citizens of heaven.