Skip to content


“For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:3-6)

Peer pressure is defined as “the strong influence of a group, especially of children, on members of that group to behave as everyone else does.” (Cambridge Dictionary) Behave like everyone else, or you’re ridiculed. While Peter doesn’t specifically use the term “peer pressure,” his words can be seen as speaking to that great pressure the unbelieving world puts on Christians to join them in their godless living or else.

We tend to think of peer pressure as something faced only in our youth, after which we are wiser and succumb less to the pressure. We do well to realize that Peter wasn’t just writing to a group of pre-teens or high schoolers. He was writing to a whole group of Christians in different stages of life, and what he wrote applied to them all. And it applies to us all.

In truth, we are all vulnerable to the world’s pressure to conform to their sinful desires and practices. Not only do we have a willing participant in our sinful flesh, but we also don’t enjoy being thought of as strange or having evil spoken of us. This puts great pressure on us to go along with the “will of the Gentiles” and their works of darkness in order to avoid their ridicule. Notice the encouraging words Peter tells his readers, and us. It’s as though Peter says, “Let them call you strange! For to them, that is exactly what you are!”

Why do unbelievers think Christians strange? Because “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14) “The light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19) “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19) Christians are strange to unbelievers because we follow Christ and refuse to “run with them in the same flood of dissipation.” (verse 4)

Through the Spirit’s power in the Gospel, the Christian is a new creation; as such he’s had enough of living for himself “in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.” (verse 3) In Christ Jesus, the Christian is set free from sin, not free to sin. With that freedom the Christian strives to give himself to Christ, Who gave Himself on the cross to redeem us.

We cannot embrace Christ without being estranged from this world. When we confess Christ, we are confessing right along with all the departed saints who “confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13) It is true that we may indeed be “judged according to men in the flesh,” but in Christ Jesus we “live according to God in the spirit.” (verse 6) Thanks be to Jesus that you are strange to this world and that heaven is your true home.

			The world with wanton pride
			Exalts its sinful pleasures
			And for them foolishly
			Gives up the heavenly treasures.
			Let others love the world
			With all its vanity;
			I love the Lord, my God – 
			What is the world to me! (TLH 430:6)

We cannot embrace Christ without being estranged from this world.

Chad Seybt is pastor of a quad parish that includes Morning Star Lutheran Church in Fairchild, Trinity Lutheran Church in Millston, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Melrose, and Peace with God Evangelical Lutheran Church in Onalaska; all in Wisconsin.