In one sense, the ‘rest of our time in the flesh’ is separated from the ‘time past’ of our lives by the here-and-now. This phase of time is when, processing our ambitions and intentions, we create from them our personal history.
Peter, however, is thinking of another specific moment that divides past and future – our conversion. That occurrence changes the character of a life. At that moment, the converted man or woman becomes the possessor of a deposit from another, spiritual dimension, namely eternal life. This is a gift from One who is outside of creation, for God’s bestowal is a quality of life after the nature of His own existence. Unlike human life, God’s gift is not subject to the processes of time; decay, degeneration and inevitable death do not impact upon it.
As this new, everlasting life of ours proceeds from the One who governs absolutely in that realm, it is only appropriate that we recognise His authority in order to live in the enjoyment of it. Before conversion we ‘wrought the will of the Gentiles’, but now we ‘should live the rest of our time in the flesh … to the will of God’.
"Now, as those who have new life from God, it is incumbent that we observe His will in the development of our new existence."
Peter points out that we have already spent sufficient time under the influence of a rebellious, controlling power. Now, as those who have new life from God, it is incumbent that we observe His will in the development of our new existence. This is a line of truth Paul also emphasises. In Romans 6:22 he writes that, ‘now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life’.
What an immense privilege we have, to be engaged in executing the divine purpose! The point on which to focus is this: we only have ‘the rest of our time in the flesh’ to do so before we ‘give account to Him that judgeth’ (1 Peter 4:5).