The Daily Word of Righteousness

The Terror of the Lord, continued

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (Hebrews 12:6)

The persecutions and tribulations being endured by the Christians in Thessalonica (II Thessalonians 1:5) were evidence of the righteous judgment of God—a judgment falling on the believers so they would not be condemned with the world.

The expressions "hath ceased from sin" and "worthy of the kingdom of God" reveal that it is both possible and necessary that Christians overcome sin while they are living in the world.

That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. (I Peter 4:2)

It is not the will of God that His people live in the lusts of the flesh after the manner of unsaved mankind. The purpose of the new covenant is to do what the Law of Moses was unable to accomplish, that is, to produce worshipers who will practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

How could the Scripture be clearer, more pointed? Have we not been grievously deceived with the lawless- grace-rapture teaching?

For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness [immorality], lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: (I Peter 4:3)

Here is the concept of repentance. Before we became a Christian we behaved in a sinful, shameful manner. But now through our Lord's grace we have turned away from the abominations practiced by the Gentile nations.

Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: (I Peter 4:4)

The true Christian conducts himself in such a manner that the unsaved regard his behavior as strange, as unusual. The world cannot see imputed (ascribed) righteousness, only actual righteousness of behavior. Actual righteousness of behavior, the moral image of the Lord Jesus, is the only light of the world.

Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick [living] and the dead. For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (I Peter 4:5,6)

"Ready to judge the living and the dead."

We need to think a great deal about the fact that the Lord Jesus is ready to judge the living and the dead. We find later in this chapter (I Peter, Chapter Four) that the Divine judgment begins with the household of God. The judgment, which includes suffering as long as there is sin and self-seeking in our personality, falls equally upon living and dead persons. The dead are alive in the spirit world but are judged as though they still were alive in the flesh. At least, this is what the passage appears to be stating.

It has been assumed that once we accept the Lord Jesus we need have no fear of death. No matter how believers behave on the earth, death will prove to be removal from pain and dread and passage into a land where all is joy and security.

The Scriptures do not appear to support this concept.

To be continued.