This chapter speaks much about suffering, ceasing from sin, proper Christian behavior, and the blessings of faithfulness.  We read in the first verse of this chapter, “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.”  To ‘arm yourselves’ is to be ready to suffer with the same frame of mind that the Lord Jesus suffered from the hands of man.  We go on to read in verses 12-13, “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.”  The Lord warns us against sufferings that are the results of our own sinful behavior.  This is not the type of suffering that benefits us, nor does it glorify the Lord.  Verse 16 tells us, “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” 

Now let’s read 1 Peter 4:17-18, “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? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 

The Lord does not simply pass over the sins of His people, the house of God, but He disciplines us so that we might learn not to sin.  We read in Hebrews 12:6-7, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”  The chastening hand of the Lord is not punishment, but rather it is the love of God working in us so that we will see sin in the same light He does, so that we will despise it and forsake it. 

We also read in 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”  After we leave this earthly scene, all believers will stand before the Lord Jesus, there to have our works judged by the Lord.  While there is no punishment involved here, there will be ‘lack of rewards’ for those things that we should have done for the Lord and did not.  (Read 1 Corinthians 3:11-15). 

So, if “the righteous scarcely be saved” speaks of all the persecution from the world and all the chastening from the hand of God a believer must endure, what, then, will happen to the ungodly and the sinner?  What will happen to those who refuse the Lord’s wonderful gift of grace?  What will happen to those who want no part of God’s love and salvation?  Matthew 25:46 tells us, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment…”  Verse 30 goes on to say that “…there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 

My dear reader, how are you with the Lord today?  Are you refusing and rejecting His gift of eternal life?  Do you continue to live in sin apart from the Lord and all his blessings?  Where, then, do you think you will spend eternity?  Let me close with this verse from John 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”  (CC)  (522.6)