4:6 {4} For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

(4) A digression because he made mention of the last general judgement. He prevents an objection, that, seeing Christ came very lately, they may seem to be excusable who died before. But this the apostle denies: for (faith he) this same gospel was preached to them also (for he speaks to the Jews) and that to the same end that I now preach it to you, that is, that the flesh being abolished and put away (that is to say, that wicked and disobedient corruption which reigns in men) they should suffer themselves to be governed by the virtue of the Spirit of God.

4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead. This passage has been explained as meaning those spiritually dead. But the dead must be the same as in 1Pe 4:5; and there they are opposed to the living. Meyer holds that this is an expansion of 1Pe 3:20,21. There he supposes Christ, in the Spirit, preached to the antediluvians. Here, he holds, that Peter affirms that all the dead who lived before Christ came had the opportunity to hear; hence when the living and dead are judged, none can plead that they had no chance of life. Others hold that the meaning may be freely given as follows: Whether you die or live Christ is your judge. For this cause the gospel was preached to your brethren who have died, etc. This view avoids some difficulties but does not seem to harmonize fully with the context. Others hold that Peter means all the dead who have died from the time the gospel began to be preached. These had heard and gone, but would be judged as well as the living. This interpretation has the advantage of giving the dead the apparent meaning of that phrase.

That they might be judged. Without some opportunity to know of the gospel they could not be judged for its rejection.

According to men in the flesh. These dead, who had heard, and received the gospel, though experiencing the judgment of physical death that rested on all men, were called to

live according to God in the spirit; that is, live on, an immortal life.

4:6 For to this end was the gospel preached - Ever since it was given to Adam. To them that are now dead - In their several generations. That they might be judged - That though they were judged. In the flesh according to the manner of men - With rash, unrighteous judgment. They might live according to the will and word of God, in the Spirit; the soul renewed after his image.

4:1-6 The strongest and best arguments against sin, are taken from the sufferings of Christ. He died to destroy sin; and though he cheerfully submitted to the worst sufferings, yet he never gave way to the least sin. Temptations could not prevail, were it not for man's own corruption; but true Christians make the will of God, not their own lust or desires, the rule of their lives and actions. And true conversion makes a marvellous change in the heart and life. It alters the mind, judgment, affections, and conversation. When a man is truly converted, it is very grievous to him to think how the time past of his life has been spent. One sin draws on another. Six sins are here mentioned which have dependence one upon another. It is a Christian's duty, not only to keep from gross wickedness, but also from things that lead to sin, or appear evil. The gospel had been preached to those since dead, who by the proud and carnal judgment of wicked men were condemned as evil-doers, some even suffering death. But being quickened to Divine life by the Holy Spirit, they lived to God as his devoted servants. Let not believers care, though the world scorns and reproaches them.