1 Peter – Chapter Four XII

by Ed Urzi

“They will give an account to the One who stands ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:5).

It’s not always easy to understand why some people choose to behave destructively. It’s difficult to explain the actions of those who resort to lying, cheating, or stealing, especially when they have no clear incentive to do so. It’s troubling to consider the number of individuals who feel free to act unethically, abuse their authority, or purposefully engage in actions that bring harm to others.

While there may be many contributing factors to those behaviors, there is one overriding answer to explain each of them: such individuals really don’t believe in a God who will hold them accountable for the choices and decisions they make today. While some may acknowledge the existence of a “higher intelligence” or supernatural being, that acknowledgment often exerts little real influence in their daily lives.

So while many accept the existence of “God,” some of those same individuals also choose to live as if He did not exist and conduct themselves accordingly. Nevertheless, the Scriptures remind us that we will be held to account before a Creator who sees our choices and their underlying motives as well. 2 Corinthians 5:10 references one aspect of that accountability…

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (ESV).

These passages remind us that we live in the presence of a righteous Creator to whom we are answerable. Peter the Apostle thus reminded his readers that God would judge those who sought to engage in that same “flood of unrestrained wickedness” (1 Peter 4:4 CEB) mentioned earlier. Since those individuals were facing God’s judgment, Peter cautioned his readers to avoid following their example regardless of how much they were criticized, abused, ridiculed, or maligned for doing so.

One commentator closes our look at this passage with a capsule summary of Biblical teaching on the subject of judgment…

“Judgment is an unpleasant subject, but a recurrent theme in the Bible. It is based on several bedrock biblical truths.

  1. This is a moral universe created by an ethical God (we reap what we sow, cf. Gal. 6:7).
  2. Humanity is fallen; we have rebelled.
  3. This is not the world God intended it to be.
  4. All conscious creations (angels and humans) will give an accounting to their Creator for the gift of life. We are stewards.
  5. Eternity will be permanently determined by our actions and choices made in this life.” (1)

(1) Dr. Bob Utley. Free Bible Commentary – 1 Peter 4 [4:5] Copyright © 2014 Bible Lessons International https://www.freebiblecommentary.org/new_testament_studies/VOL02/VOL02B_04.html