Hard For The Righteous? (1 Peter 4)

For those who don’t know, a friend and I made up a reading plan through the N.T., Psalms and Proverbs for 2009, and most of my church back in Virginia Beach, and most of our Launch Team who are moving to start the new church in Vegas are going through it together. Each day I’m sharing a thought or application that hits me from that day’s reading.

So it today’s chapter (1 Peter 4) the thing that just slapped me across the face (nasty!) was 1 Peter 4:18, “And, ‘If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” It seems to me that a pretty good goal for a church, or a church plant, is to have the Christians in the church end up going to Heaven. 1 Peter 4:18, and about another hundred or so verses in the New Testament make it sound like it’s not as easy to get to Heaven as we often make it sound: “Just say this prayer, now add water, and poof: You’re in!!”

There’s a preacher I listen to sometimes (and really admire) who I’ve heard tell his congregation, “I’m pretty sure most of you aren’t going to be in Heaven. And I’m talking to the people in the room who consider themselves Christians.” He says it compassionately, but I’m still impressed he’s got the stones to say that.

But anyway, let me ask you this question: Let’s say that God spoke directly to you today and told you that most of the “Christians” in your church won’t be in Heaven. And then you asked God, “Why?” What do you think his answer would be? (1) What they believed (about God, Jesus, salvation, etc.) was not correct enough? (2) They believed, but weren’t really sold-out followers of Jesus? (3) Something else?

And whatever that answer is, is there something you could do about it, to correct the problem? Either for you personally, or for your church?

I’m not trying to start any big theological debates, it just seems to be something worth thinking about. And, as I said, 1 Peter 4:18 is a real face slapper.