1 Peter 4:18, “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
So many in Christendom (and the Church) do not know of, or embrace, the importance of this scripture. For instance, the word “scarcely” here means, “with difficulty.” With what? With difficulty??? Wow!
That’s right, considerable effort is required to prove whether or not we are eligible to be the righteous who scarcely be saved. In other words, the “with difficulty” is, we must obey those who have the rule over us so that we can truly strive to overcome false prophets, the world, the wicked one, and the flesh (daily) in order to be kept safe and sound — rescued from danger or destruction … that we might escape eternal judgment.
Our salvation is no cake walk — we must: repent, believe the gospel; be disciples of Jesus Christ; deny ourselves, take up our cross (daily), and literally follow Jesus; be born of the water, and born of the Spirit; strive to enter in at the straight gate; present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God; earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints; fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life; continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which we have heard; mortify our desires and passions, and (through the Spirit,) mortify the deeds of our body … and so much more….
Can we do any of these things without denying (or dethroning) ourselves, and be accepted by the Lord at the same time? No!
Question: Why do so many people in the Church world say that they can “give it all to Jesus and He will work it out” when the charge to all who profess our faith in Him is to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, because He worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13)?
And for this reason, many act as if He will take away the sufferings which they must endure in order to reign with Him in His kingdom forever. Pathetic … and it ain’t gonna’ happen.
You see, we the righteous know that we must suffer persecution and strive “with difficulty” to stay saved. The “with difficulty” is not that it is too hard to be saved …NO… John wrote, the commandments of God are not grievous (1 John 5:3), and Jesus said, His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30).
The “with difficulty” includes, but is not limited to, fighting against the law of sin in our members which war against the law of our mind to bring us into captivity …why?… because our delight is in the law of God after the inward man, which we naturally meditate upon day and night (Romans 7:22-23; Psalm 1:2). We do not schedule times to meditate on God’s word; it comes to us naturally because we live by every word that proceedeth out of His mouth!
We do not focus on our sufferings because we know we must suffer. We focus more readily on the joy that is set before us while we suffer our light affliction (Hebrews 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:17).
Consider the following references:
- (Zechariah 13:9) And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
- (Acts 14:21-22) And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
- (Romans 8:16-17) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
- (2 Timothy 3:12-13) Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
- (1 Peter 4:12-16) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
Peter drives home a very strong point of the fiery trials which try us … they identify us as partakers of Christ’s sufferings. Again, our focus is on the joy set before us, and in the meantime, we are glad with exceeding joy to be reproached, i.e., defamed, reviled, and evil spoken of for the Lord’s sake. We rejoice in Him in our sufferings and strive to know Him in the fellowship of His sufferings, so that we may be made conformable unto His death (Philippians 3:10); that He may be glorified.
We are not ashamed by our family, peers at work or school, or even Church folks who hate our guts because we are not like them to follow their evil and pernicious way of life, which will end in eternal judgment where the ungodly and the sinner will appear — but we glorify God in our sufferings, and know that we are among the righteous who scarcely be saved in Him.