to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
January 03, 2020 – Friday
1 Peter 4:17-18 NIV
17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”*
Clearly the judgment of God will begin with God’s household and as the prior two verses makes clear that will be as Christians: 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. Peter Pett says this suffering for Christians refers to the persecution that they are undergoing. It is a precursor to, and picture of, the judgment that will come on all men. The difference here is that those in the house of God here have hope because Another has suffered on their behalf.
The whole idea though is that whatever we as Christians may suffer it will be incredibly milder form of God’s judgment against sin. There will be a refining fire for those who are His children and seeking to be obedient as alluded to in 1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
How much greater will be the judgment for those who do not obey the gospel of God? The same fire that seeks to refine Christians as fire refines gold, will have a much different effect on those who would not obey the gospel of God – much like the different effect fire has on gold and on straw. David Guzik comments that Christians can rejoice that the sufferings they face in this life are the worst they will ever face throughout all eternity. We have seen the worst; those who reject Jesus Christ have seen the best of life their eternal existence will ever see.
The next verse quoting Proverbs 11:31 makes this point even stronger when it asks If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? The difficulty of our salvations was something only God was capable of and that was through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross as payment for our sins. We know there is only eternal damnation for those who reject Christ and His saving work on the cross.
God’s judgment has not yet arrived so we should pray for those who do not yet know of or knowing of God’s Grace have rejected it. Pray for them whether they be family, friends, co-workers, strangers, enemies, or people unknown, they are the lost, the unsaved and who would wish such judgment upon anyone.
Having trouble making sense of this verse, I looked at Ellicott’s Commentary which stated the literal interpretation of the beginning of the verse is to men who once upon a time were disobedient. That sent me looking unbelievers, lifted up the ark and thus saved Noah and his household.
It’s Friday and the first weekend in the New Year is upon us. Make time this weekend to pray for the lost and unsaved. Take time to go to church and ask for corporate prayer for the lost and unsaved as well.
(to obey is better than sacrifice /obedience is better than sacrifice)
* To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)