Therefore, since Christ has [a]suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has [b]suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, [c]having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and [d]abominable idolatries. 4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been [e]preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God. 1 Peter 4:1-6
Suffering for the Lord has a way of transforming the way we live our lives. When we suffer for the Lord and His kingdom we don’t have a desire to live for the lust of the flesh. The more we suffer, the more we understand the value of God’s kingdom. The more we suffer we see how worthless this world and its desires are. We must have the same attitude that Christ had in which He came to this earth to lay down His life. He knew the price that had to be paid and it was because of His love that He choose to go to the cross.
In the past before we came to Christ we had every opportunity to purse the lust of the flesh. The lust of the flesh is the desires of the sinful nature. Because we pursued these things before we came to Christ, we should no longer pursue them. Our pursuit should be Christ and His kingdom. We are called to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. The more we seek the Lord, the more we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Those we use to know before we come to Christ will be surprised at our desire not to run after the desires of the world anymore. Those who are still lost and seeking after the world will stand before Christ some day and give an account of their lives. We who are in Christ shall stand before Christ some day but give an account of our faithfulness of the gifts given to us by God. Again if we have come to Christ we should no longer have anything to do with the world and its desires. If we continue to live for the world and its ways than we truly have not given our hearts to Jesus Christ.
The gospel is preached to those who are dead simply means those who are spiritual dead. Before we come to Christ we are spiritual dead from God. We are separated from Him because of sin that we are born with. All of us are born into sin because of the sin of Adam and Eve. Every one born to the line of Adam is born into sin and the only solution for sin is the precious blood of Jesus. All will stand before God in judgement. Believers will stand before Jesus at the Bemaseat judgment while unbelievers will stand judgement at the white throne judgement. But the only thing that separates those who will spend all eternity in heaven and those who will not is faith in Jesus Christ alone.