Wednesday, 4 December 2019
They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 1 Peter 4:5
The words are connected to those of the previous verse who “think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.” Peter says of them now that “They will give an account.”
Here he uses the same term that he did of believers in verse 3:15 –
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;”
It is probable that he is tying the two thoughts together in his mind. Christians are to be prepared to give a defense concerning their faith because all people will be required to give an account of their lives. If the first can lead to a resulting change in others, the account given – and the judgment rendered – will be vastly different for the one who must give his “account to Him who is ready to judge.”
The Greek more closely reads, “having Himself in readiness.” The judgment is near, it is always at the ready, and when the time for it arrives, it will be conducted without delay. Further, it is speaking of the coming judgment of God which will be conducted by Christ Jesus. This is explicitly stated in Acts 10:42 and in 2 Timothy 4:1. It is also stated in other ways elsewhere. It is Christ Jesus who has been ordained by God for this purpose.
If one thinks about it logically, Christ is the standard for judgment. He was found without sin, and He prevailed over death because of it. He is the embodiment of the law, and therefore, what He has done is the ideal to which all others must attain in order to meet God’s standard and be accepted by Him.
Therefore, one will either be found in Christ, and thus acceptable to God, or he will not be in Christ and unacceptable to God. The judgment will be that simple to conduct. There will be no balances to weigh out good and bad. There will be no listing of deeds leading to justification. There will be no time in purgatory which leads to a state of sanctification and holiness. There will only be those in Christ and those who are not in Christ. Those in Christ will be saved; the others will be condemned.
And this judgment is for both “the living and the dead.” Those who are alive at the time of judgment will be judged. Those who have died before that Day appointed for them will be raised for judgment. No person in all of human history will be excluded from this, and it will be a perfectly fair and eternally final decision.
Life application: Idol worshippers cover the majority of people on earth. Any religion not founded on faith in Jesus Christ is idol worship. One doesn’t need to bow to a stone Buddha to fit this category. Instead, any form of incorrect worship will do, whether it is pantheism (belief that everything is God); polytheism (belief in many gods); etc. Like them, liars, murderers, thieves, sorcerers, those who practice astrology, etc. are all awaiting the same fate. Either Jesus Christ is Lord in one’s life, or something else is.
While considering this, take time to also reflect on those who mistreat you or persecute you because of your faith. Right now, it seems unbearable. We hear of Christian persecution around the world and it seems like the enemy is winning the battle. In America, it is becoming increasingly difficult to even mention the name of Jesus in public without having somebody from the ACLU or some other anti-Christian organization threaten to sue you, or have you tossed into jail.
If you feel their oppression, don’t be surprised, these things will come. But remember that Jesus is a fair and righteous Judge. In the end, they will receive their just desserts for having fought against Him in this life. Following His path will be rewarded and fighting against it will be punished. Nothing will be left unattended on the great Day of His righteous judgment. Be at peace and continue to be a light to these people lest they share in the fate of the wicked.
Lord, our inclination at times is to pray for speedy judgment on those who persecute and fight against Your church. But You would have us do otherwise. You would have us pray for them now so that they might turn and be healed. Give us willing hearts to do this so that they may receive commendation, not condemnation, on Your great Day of visitation. Amen.