They Think It Strange


Elder Mark Green

1 Peter 4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.

“They” are the world. They are our former companions, or “running buddies” when we were walking after the course of this world. When we walked according to the devil’s promptings, we fit right in with them. No matter how despicable our behavior may have been in those days, they did not think it was strange, because it was the same kind of conduct that they were exhibiting. Brother Paul tells us that we – all of us – before we were born of the Spirit walked according to the course of this world. Our path was their path, and it was the path of death. We “were dead in trespasses and sins.” We did not have spiritual life. There was nothing in us that enabled us to do that which is pleasing to God Almighty.

One day, however, something changed in us. At God’s own time, He quickened us by his Spirit, translated us out of the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. We then had the ability to please God and we had within us certain new and wonderful promptings that had not been there before. We felt that “we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” When we finally began to consider these things seriously, we concluded that a change in our conduct was necessary, and we began to leave off some of the things we had done before. We started pulling away from our former acquaintances, at least in some of their pursuits. We concluded that some of their behavior was at fault, and we did not wish to be found in that way any more. We felt to be ashamed of what we had been doing and did not wish to be identified with it any longer. When we began to walk in a different way, our former companions were puzzled, for they had no way of understanding the spiritual motivation that prompted that change. They questioned us, but could not comprehend our answers. Finally, they became angry and used abusive language toward us and cast us aside as not worthy of their consideration. This was not pleasant to us, because we had had a natural affection for them in times past, but we felt like the reasons for our change were sufficient to cause us to bear those slights and continue in our new direction.


Natural men cannot understand grace. They cannot feel what grace causes a man to feel within him, and so they know nothing of the conflict that Paul describes in the seventh chapter of Romans. They never cry out, “O wretched man that I am!” They are strangers to the warfare that exists within the child of God, and so they think it strange that God’s children have feelings of guilt concerning a profligate lifestyle. We ought not to run with the world. We ought to come out from among them and be separate.