Lesson 33—Closing the Book of the Past
Scripture: 1 Peter 4:2-3
Lesson Goal: Today we look at the contrast between the old and new.
In this world, the true follower of Jesus Christ is in enemy territory, where there will be battles, struggles, heartaches, and disappointments. But we must remember the words of the Apostle Paul: “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3) and the words of Jesus: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Followers of Jesus Christ understand that they will not escape this world unscathed or without scars. But true believers also understand that we are not to spend our lives in fear and doubt. We can get through this victoriously. We win!
(Verse 2) Here we find a contrast between the old way and the new way, the old life and the new life, the desires of the flesh and the will of God. The words of verse two help us to understand that the believer is no longer controlled by human passions of self-desire and the flesh, but rather by the will of God. Peter’s message is simply that he would prefer to suffer as a Christian than to sin as an unbeliever.
Believers are instructed not to waste the remainder of their lives in the pursuit of selfish desires and fleshly lust. Notice the words used in verse two “lusts of men.” Peter uses the plural word “lusts.” This presents a picture of the believer being pulled in many directions by many desires. The believer is being pulled to live like the world, fulfilling the desires and lust of the flesh. We must be careful that we do not lust after the pleasures and possessions of this life.
➢ As a believer in Jesus Christ, what are some pulls of the world that you experience in your own life?
Please read Romans 8:5-12.
It is a glorious blessing and great truth to understand that God has given us His Spirit to indwell us and empower us to live a life pleasing to Him. Peter, therefore, instructs us to do the “will of God” the rest of our lives. The believer’s desire should be to please and glorify God. For Peter, this means not giving in to the pulls of the world and the flesh, but to live by his own words (see 1 Peter 1:15). Peter is living out the truth of the word he is writing and teaching.
➢ Are you living out the truth of the words we are studying in Sunday school?
➢ Did you desire to please God this week to the extent that you studied the lesson? Did you find time this week to allow God into your busy life and schedule?
➢ How many times have we been too busy to allow God into our world (life)? How often is God an afterthought?
(Verse 3) Peter continues to contrast the old (past) life and the new (following Jesus Christ) life. Because they have been set free from the bondage of the old life with its old stuff, he wants his readers to understand their transformation from the past and wants them to leave all the old stuff behind them.
Peter uses three distinct perfect tense verbs to make a Hallelujah point. Verse three begins with the literal meaning of “the having passed away time” followed by two other present tense verbs. He uses these words, building on one another, to convey the wonderful truth that the sinful past is a closed book, and the rest of the believer’s life is spent writing a new book. Read and rejoice in the words found in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Read Romans 6:6-7. As a true believer in Jesus Christ, offer your praise to God for this great truth in your own life.
➢ What does “old things have passed away” mean to you personally?
As you read and study this lesson, can I ask you to step out of the box with me for just a moment? As a true believer, would you close your eyes, and if you feel led, lift your hands, stand to your feet, bow to your knees, or even fall on your face, and just praise Him for the glorious truth and reality that “old things have passed away”? Praise Him, for you are not a slave to sin; you have been set free. You are not a prisoner to your past; you have been made free by Jesus, and you are free indeed. You are free to live the rest of your life loving, serving, and glorifying Him.
In the privacy of your own study, and in the collection of those gathered in your Sunday School class, offer to Him a true, sincere sacrifice of praise.
Please prayerfully finish the following sentence.
With God’s help, I will spend the rest of my lifetime…
May God bless each of you, my friends. I am thankful for your prayers and for God’s blessings as I write your Life Focus lessons. I pray, in some small way, God is blessing you as you read, study and discuss them. Our prayer to God is “Lead me in your truth and teach me” (Psalm 25:5).
My love and prayers to all, Bro. Mick