1 Peter 4: 18 – And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
I am about to cut a typical Bible commentary I found on my ESV Bible Study program to pieces. Called the Holy Spirit Will Help You Die written on June 10, 1984 Scripture: 1 Peter 4:12-19 Topic: Death Dying. As it is all based upon carnal, natural understanding, of Bible, theology and a dubious doctrine, which is meant to “tickle the ears of the reader” with what most want to hear.
It is written in a historical context, as in having a “historical faith” all while attempting to show how even today, it would still be applied, to a believer suffering for the Lord. I earnestly believe, it was written with the best of intentions, yet in ignorance of a greater truth. It is an attempt to show how suffering is normal for the believer, and to be reassuring to those who suffer, that they do not suffer in vain. At one level this commentary is acceptable; but at the deeper level of spiritual understanding of the things of God, it misses the mark, for the author does not understand how the Holy Spirit functions in a believer’s life, and how they are transformed from a child of the Devil, to one who is “given the chance to become” a son, or daughter of God, by walking in the atonement, and being changed into his image.
- First off, much theology today teaches, that when one comes to Christ for salvation, they are “locked in”, and cannot be condemned upon their death. They confuse scripture like; no one can snatch them out of my hand; with say being conformed to his image for example.
- Secondly, the ungodly is talking about the “broad roader” who refuses to follow Christ, by taking the narrow way, like the disciple, which leads to life. The ungodly is referring to a person who may start with Christ, (as in the parable of the sower and the seeds, with the different sorts of ground); yet refuses to be conformed to Christ’s image, as a condition of their heart; (rocky, shallow, the cares of life choke off the roots) as a result, the ungodly will not allow their flesh to be crucified, and made into a new creation by God, through the sanctification process.Of course the “good ground” allows the seed a deep root system, which produces much fruit; and is an example of the righteous, a true follower and disciple.
- Thirdly, the sinner is one who has never been elect of God “towards” salvation, regeneration, or sanctification. They will not always appear, nor act as “degenerate pagans” either. Often these people can take on a “form of Godliness” by appearance and talk, yet this does not make them of God; only moral, often having “Christian ethics” and as a result have been blessed by God. The “Bible” instructs the actual child of God, (for whom it was written) – to avoid such as these.
This is why the theologian is quick to point out: Let’s be care full (condemnation) is not what the verse says -“If the righteous man is scarcely saved”
—> he is saved * interjects the author ~ yet the last three words are merely theological opinion, based on poor doctrine in my view. It is pure DRIBBLE I say; within this contexts, and the author has no authority to add this to the text, as far as I’m concerned!
YES, LET”S BE CARE FULL INDEED!
This scriptural text, (1 Peter 4:18) most assuredly IS speaking about condemnation, for those who are not found to be (abiding) “in Christ” upon their death. And THIS doctrine – is what one ought to be most careful and concerned about!
Isn’t it odd that “my interpretation” of this text, would be in total and blatant contradiction of what the author has written? The reason for this is because the author of this commentary is a false brother, and has written his theses as an “enemy of the Cross”! Despite how moral or concerned for the truth, as the texts might appear.
If he has started with Christ, he refuses to be conformed to Christ’ image, in putting himself to death, so that he might be raised to newness of life. He is an ant-Christ, whom John talked about, (starting with us, but not finishing). He is busying himself using scriptural texts; to try and justify himself before God, rather than being put to death, and raised to newness of life spiritually. Being found IN Christ IS our only hope of not being condemned.
Do you see what is going on here? If the author had known the truth (Christ), he could have never written such a counter intuitive piece; as the Holy Spirit would have admonished him, with great conviction, that he was indeed wrong!
Most Bible commentary today is done without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; therefore it can be understood by the natural mind, which runs counter to the things of God!
Theology and Religiosity are always based on walking independently of God’s leading in human pride; and runs counter to humbling oneself, before the Holy Spirit of God. As a result, they will not recognize their great need of Christ; and that “no good exists within them naturally”. So, they can only move independent in thought, and movement to Christ. This normally will always be the result, unless the Lord be pleased to “quicken the truth to them”, as when the King James Bible was translated (as an example). Natural man “cannot understand this“, as they are not spiritual, and spiritual things will always appear as folly, to the natural mind.
This is why we must have the mind of Christ, as for understanding everything that is spiritually real or true; it is imperative that we “allow” the Lord to lead us, just like that of a little child – and not a proud, intellectual, stand alone scribe; who will fight the truth of God in spirit, at every opportunity.
The Holy Spirit is what quickens you to live in Christ; however, you may resist him, even unto your own spiritual death! As He is life, the supernatural power, and authority given by God, through Christ by grace, to allow those who have clearly committed to follow him, into all truth by faith. God will never force his will upon man, we must be attentive to our Lord, and learn to walk with him into maturity. It is the man or woman who actually loves God more than anyone, (even their own life) who has been made manifest in their flesh; nor anything of this world, including status, education, wealth, who will seek the truth, that they might be saved, and who will find it!
Yet, a disciple will be marginalized, and persecuted by those of a “different spirit” than themselves. The true follower of Christ in Spirit will be hated by those who are without him; simply for being who they are, and loving and moving with Christ naturally, as they are a new creation, and alien to this world: And the world’s people feel it, especially the false brethren!
The needs of the world and its peoples are but secondary to loving and moving in Christ -as directed- might I interject. And it is natural for the child of God to function and move in such a way. Yet most who have started with Christ have become enemies of the cross (of crucifixion), and false alternatives or (anti-Christ’s), as they will not enter, and don’t want others to enter either! Jesus said, “Most would not be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven” this is also why it is written: (they that sin have neither seen him nor known him) “now” and be found in his righteousness.
This is what 1 Peter 4:18 actually is being spoken about, as most will not pay the personal cost, and finish the race set before them, by being transformed by the renewing of their minds, and being found in Christ, Jesus and redeemed upon their deaths. This is why Jesus told his disciples to enter in the narrow way; as they had asked him – “Master, are there few that be saved?”
This article is not a feel good, and easy assurance assessment, of 1 Peter 4 verse 18, because it is not rooted in making people feel good about themselves; but rather is rooted in the seriousness of what this verse is speaking about. The personal sacrifice of one’s “old self” unto DEATH; to be redeemed with the “new self” and has cost God, his only begotten son, given out of the Father’s great love for us. This sacrificial lamb is available to those elect who would follow, Christ in Spirit and in Truth; because they love him more than life itself. Will you pick up your cross and follow our Lord, or is a comfortable life in this world more important to you?
Sadly, most will choose the ladder; and even write Bible commentaries about the one they will not be submitted to, and transformed into newness of life.