“And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” (1 Peter 1:17 KJV).
The singular reference to “work” here in 1 Peter 1:17 represents an important detail that might easily escape our attention. You see, this word serves to identify a person’s “business, employment, [or] that which any one is occupied.” (1) With that definition in mind, let’s compare this verse to Jesus’ message from Matthew 16:27….
“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”
While these references to “work” and “works” may appear similar, they are not the same. In Matthew 16:27, Jesus used a word that speaks of our deeds, practices, and behaviors. (2) Taken together, this tells us that God will judge our individual actions (as Jesus says in Matthew 16:27), as well as the “business” of our lives, as we’re told here in 1 Peter 1:17.
That “business” reflects the character of our lives, the qualities that distinguish us, or the things we are known for. So these passages tell us that God will examine what we are as well as what we do. In light of this, we should pay close attention to those things that occupy our lives. A simple question such as, “What am I known for?” can help us in that self-assessment.
We should also note this reference to the word “sojourning” in 1 Peter 1:17. This word is synonymous with the idea of a traveler or a person on a journey. A sojourner is someone who may live for an extended period in one place, but is not a citizen of that area. Today, we might use the term “resident alien” or “foreign national” to describe such a person.
This passage thus serves to remind us that God’s people are passing through this life on the way to another place. That knowledge should encourage us to honor God as we journey through the various stages of life. In light of these things, we should demonstrate respect for God in our economic activities, governmental interactions, and personal relationships as we pass the time of our sojourning here.
If we view the days and years of our earthly existence as a pilgrimage on the way to an eternal destination, it should help us make good choices as we conduct the business of our lives.
(1) G2041 ergon https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g2041/kjv/tr/0-1/
(2) G4234 praxis https://www.billmounce.com/greek-dictionary/praxis