1 Peter 4:16-19


1 Pet 4:16 (KJB)
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
Ashamed - Feel shame or put to shame
A Christian is never to feel shame if they suffer just for being a Christian. If we suffer as an evildoer, then we deserve what we get but if we suffer for naming the name of Christ, there is no shame in it. In fact receiving persecution at the hand of the unsaved world for being a Christian is a badge of honor for the true Christian. This is because if the world has a case against you, then you must be representing the Kingdom of God well. The world will never oppose a Christian who sits in a bar or never witnesses because they are holding hands with the world. If you are witnessing for Christ without compromise, then the world will come at you with everything it has. If you are going opposite of the world, then you will bring Glory to God because the world system is opposed to God’s system.
1 Pet 4:17-18 (KJB)
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? {18} And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Must begin - To have begun
Many people believe that this verse is speaking about God’s judgment on the local church when that is an absolute misrepresentation of this verse. This verse refers specifically to the redeemed body of believers. If you notice that Peter is identifying the believers as the house of God. Notice the phrase in the verse, “and if it first begin at us.”
What trips everyone up on this verse is the phrase, “must begin,” which makes it look like some future event. The truth is that the phrase should really be translated “to have begun.” The word is “arxasqai” (arxasthai) which is derived from the word “arcw” (archo) which means to “rule, reign, or begin.” Our word is not in the present tense but is in the Aorist tense. The Aorist Tense denotes an action without any reference to duration, repetitive, or completeness.
This same word is used in Acts 11:15: (Acts 11:15 KJV) And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. As you see, this verse is not saying that the Holy Ghost began to fall, it states He fell. It is interesting to note that the only two times we see this word used in the New Testament is when Peter is using it.
Now let us return to 1 Peter 4:17. We read a little bit more clearer that judgment had already begun on the House of God in Peter’s time. It is believed the two Books of Peter were written between 64 & 68 AD. So now let us ask the question, when did judgment previously happen on the body of believers? It was at the cross when the body of believers was judged. Christ became the atonement for all the Elect He planned to save. This is the meaning of the Household of God being judged. We were judged and found not guilty because the Lord Jesus Christ took our sins on Him and removed them. God judged the Lord Jesus Christ as He became sin for us. As we think in the Aorist tense about the judgment, we realize that the completeness of Christ’s atonement for the entire body of Christ will be complete on the last day, when the last one is saved.
As we continue to look at 1 Peter 4:17, we see the next part of that verse deals with judgment of the unsaved. Peter is making a comparison between the judgment of the body of Christ and the judgment of the unsaved. He was posing a rhetorical question in that what will happen to those who do not obey the gospel AKA the unbelievers? He goes on in verse 18:
(1 Pet 4:18 KJV) And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Peter states that if the righteous scarcely (with difficulty or toil - not our works but the work of the Lord Jesus Christ) be saved, where shall the ungodly appear. They shall appear before the Great White Throne Judgment. So we see that the context of 1 Peter 4:17-18 is salvation of the redeemed and not the local church.
1 Pet 4:19 (KJB)
Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
Those that suffer persecution by the will of God, and this means the suffering which God has ordained for them, must commit their souls and the entire situation to the Lord, who is the Creator. When a Christian suffers for the name of Christ, this is considered to be well doing in contrast to evildoing. Suffering can purify the life of the believer as it can help shave off all things which hinder a pure obedience to Christ. There are many things in this world that Christians hold on to which are really causing a dividing of allegiance. This is why God sends suffering into the lives of these Christians, it is not to harm them, but to help refine their life and cause them to realize that God does not accept half allegiance. This why the Bible includes the phrase “as unto a faithful Creator.” This is so the Christian knows who created them and who knows what is the best course of action for them. It is a realization that God is the Creator and we are the created ones, even though sometimes we act like we created ourselves and this is the attitude that God wants to remove from us. There is no place for pride in the Christian’s life.