3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
4 ¶ Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 6 For 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.
Following in this same thought Peter refers to the believer’s past life, when he walked in the ways of the world. This is a very dangerous place for the young person but an older person who has not known Christ’s salvation may find himself in this unending cycle of pleasure, misery, and eventual regret. Lasciviousness and lusts, excess of wine, have to do with sexual immorality brought on by drunkenness.
Revellings is used in Galatians 5:21 as a work of the flesh.
Galatians 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
This is partying, usually drunken, usually resulting in immoral behavior that typically hurts the innocent eventually and burdens the guilty with regret. It is a lifestyle evidenced by the old Country-Western song by Willie Nelson that went, “night life ain’t no good life, but its my life.” Many of you Christians used to soak in that practice until you stank of alcohol. In the ancient world after a drunken party sometimes young men would parade through the streets singing songs to Bacchus or some other pagan god. It became a word for drunken, group behavior.
Banquetings is a word denoting activity of a similar nature, as large ornate meals of many courses were enjoyed, devoted to a god or gods, and winding up in a sexual orgy or revellings of some sort.
Abominable idolatries accompany all of this behavior as their actions were dedicated to the gods. We engage in idolatry today but don’t call it such. Bars and lounges are sprinkled throughout virtually every city and town, little temples to self, as lost people and sometimes, blind and carnal Christians, indulge themselves in self-worship and lowering the inhibitions with alcohol so that what God has given to man to enjoy in the marriage bed can be trodden underfoot like something for which man is not only not grateful but holds in utter contempt. The more extreme versions of this modern paganism are STD Parties where people go to try to get a sexually transmitted disease, Raves, popular in the 1990’s, which could degenerate into a drug and alcohol inspired orgy like Foam Parties, and all kinds of night time get-togethers where under cover of night everything from immoral, consensual behavior takes place to rape, gang-rape, and even murder are the end result. This happens all over the world today, but more so in the Western, former predominant Christian, industrialized countries. It’s terrifying what happens when God takes His hand of protection against sin from a person or a country.
Your former friends thought it was odd that you refused, once you were saved, to go with them anymore to these things. They condemned you for thinking you were too good for your friends after that. Some new Christians, feeling isolated and alone, will succumb to this guilt-trip and fall back into sin for a time, but are never truly happy again in that environment.
Your former friends will give an account to God at the Great White Throne judgment if they do not eventually believe and are given faith.
Revelation 20:11 ¶ And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Most commentators regard dead in verse 6 as a reference to spiritually dead, in a metaphorical sense. This is warranted by Christ’s own use of dead in a spiritual sense.
Matthew 8:21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
We also know that Adam and Eve did not physically die when they ate of the forbidden fruit, but lived many more years, so the obvious interpretation is spiritual death.
Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
And, we are made alive by Christ, even though our bodies are already alive, so that must be a reference to spiritual life. In the following born, enter the second time into his mother’s womb, born of water, and born of the flesh is flesh refer to physical birth from one’s mother while born again and born of the Spirit refers to spiritual rebirth
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Verse 6 gives us the purpose of preaching the gospel, to make men and women repent and turn to God, living a life according to Him in our spirit. To sum up what Paul said;
Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.