17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right (1 Peter 4).
Ten verses before, Peter writes, “The end of all things is near” (verse 7). That end began with the judgment of sin at the cross, and it continues with the judgment of sin in “the household of God”—the Church. This judgment takes the form of persecution in order to remove the chaff from the wheat. For, persecution serves a dual purpose of both a “test” (verse 12) and a “blessing” to true believers (verse 14), as well as a “judgement” or condemnation for those who are not.
Thus, the gist of verse 18 is this: if it is “difficult” for believers now, think how much worse it will be for “the godless man and the sinner” for all eternity! We must remember that God is indeed “a faithful Creator” who is creating a whole new order of things by using persecution to purge His Church and bring greater blessings upon those who truly believe.
Lord, we are reminded that our ways are not Your ways. Help us This Day, should persecution arise in any way, to entrust our souls to You, as our faithful Creator and loving Re-Creator. Amen.