Wednesday, August 14, 2013

1st Peter 4 - Final judgment

"For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?" (1 Peter 4:17-18)
In the Greek the question is more clear, this verse can readily be translated, "where shall the impious and [the] sinner appear?" (1 Peter 4:18 Darby) Paul teaches us that there will come a time when each of us must appear before Christ to give an account of how we lived our lives. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10) Jesus, Himself, in a parable, gave an account of that day and answers the rhetorical question asked by Peter. On that day of final judgment, Jesus will separate the people like one who separates sheep from goats, placing the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. Then, just as Peter teaches, judgment will begin for the sheep. "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.' " (Matthew 25:34) The righteous having thus received their reward, Jesus will turn to those on His left. "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels...' These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Matthew 25:41, 46) Judgment will come and that judgment will be final.

However, some say ask, "is it time?" since so much time has passed since Peter declared, 'it is time," but Jesus himself warns us, "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done." (Revelation 22:12) The point is that, no matter how near or far we believe this final judgment to be, now is the time to live like He is coming back even as we stand here and breath. Jesus told another parable that we should be ready, saying, "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming... Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions." (Matthew 24:42, 45-47) Jesus praised that servant who did his master's bidding, not knowing when his master might return, but always working to present himself ready when his master should return. However, Jesus warns us against slothfulness in assuming that His return is still a long way off, saying, "But if that evil slave says in his heart, 'My master is not coming for a long time,' and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matt 24:48-51) What is the point of all this? Jesus is coming at an hour and day we do know know, therefore, now is the time to live right, to live like He us coming back today, not to be slothful or insolent against His commandments, but to live godly and righteously and properly as children of the day.
"Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right." (1 Peter 4:19)
We are called to live for eternity, not for the passing pleasures of the moment. We should not live for momentary pleasures, or for the purpose of dodging temporary "light" afflictions, but we should live a life that is committed to doing what is right, for, when we live committed to what is right, we are living for eternity. Such a life is not always an easy one, but requires us to commit our life in hope and trust to the one who can save us and make us worthy of everlasting life, that being our faithful and loving creator.

David Robison

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