The Christian Magazine
1 Peter 4:17-19
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us…
I. Consider the appeal IN ITS REFERENCE TO TEMPORAL CALAMITIES.
1. The righteous are saved, when the existence of the Church is preserved.
2. The righteous are saved personally, when their lives are preserved.
3. The righteous are saved, while the life and welfare of their souls are secured, whatever may otherwise befall them.
II. Consider the appeal IN ITS REFERENCE TO SPIRITUAL AND ETERNAL SALVATION.
1. The righteous are scarcely saved —
(1) Because their salvation could not be purchased but at the greatest conceivable expense.
(2) Because the purchased redemption could not be applied but by supernatural power.
(3) Because even when salvation is thus attained, it is not persevered in without the same supernatural aid, and the utmost diligence.
(4) Because after death is the judgment. The righteous shall be saved, but it will be scarcely when the matter comes to a scrutiny of sterling evidence.
2. It remains now to ponder the inference which the apostle chiefly designs to impress on our minds, "If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" It is as if he had said, How certain their doom!
(1) How certain! "Where shall they appear?" Not surely in a saved state. This is the simple answer to the question.
(2) How dreadful must it be! The abrupt and pungent form of expression suggests the horrors of their doom.
(3) How reasonable will be their doom! For this, too, the question strongly implies, not only as an appeal to reason, leaving themselves to decide, but as an allusion to the mode of procedure in courts among men. "Where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" On what ground shall they stand? What can they plead in their own behalf at the bar of the eternal Judge? Inferences:
1. What construction ought to be put on the little difference made between the righteous and the wicked in the dispensations of Providence. This has often been mistaken by the former (Psalm 73), and abused by the latter, as if religion were of no value. A real distinction exists, and will eventually be manifested. The ungodly have no reason to glory, indulging atheistical thoughts because of the sufferings of the godly.
2. What views ought to be entertained of spiritual salvation? It is not that easy trifling matter which many take it to be. "Who then can be saved?"
3. Propose this question to yourselves in a less limited form, "Who can be saved?" Through the grace of God, all sinners, even the chief. But, who will be saved? Only those who live a life of faith, and make their calling and election sure.
(The Christian Magazine.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?