What does 1 Peter 4:17 mean?
ESV: For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
NIV: For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
NASB: 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?
CSB: For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?
NLT: For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News?
KJV: For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
NKJV: For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
Verse Commentary:
God does, in fact, judge His children on this side of eternity. That's a hard idea for some of us, but it is what Peter is saying here. The writer of Hebrews also makes clear that our God is a Father who disciplines His children (Hebrews 12:3–17). We must understand this carefully, however. This is a not judgment for the purpose of punishing our sins, or making us worthy of heaven. Peter has made clear in this letter that Jesus was our substitute on the cross (1 Peter 3:18). He was punished for all of our sins. That judgment is complete.

The judgment Peter refers to here is for the purpose of purifying our faith (1 Peter 1:6–7). It is meant to draw us to trust God more deeply, to abandon our hope of finding satisfaction in anything apart from Him. It's our faith, our trust in Him, which our Father values in us. He values it so much that He is willing to allow us to experience great suffering to help us grow fully dependent on Him.

Peter further makes a sobering point regarding God's judgment. God is willing to allow His dearly loved children to suffer under his judgment, in order to purify and rescue them. Consider then, that those who fully reject faith in Christ, declining the gospel, will experience far, far worse.
Verse Context:
1 Peter 4:12–19 reminds Christians not to be surprised even by fiery suffering, but instead to see sharing in Christ’s afflictions as something worth rejoicing in. We will be glad when Christ’s glory is ultimately revealed, and we are currently blessed because God’s Spirit is with us. At the same time, we get no credit for the penalties of our own criminal or evil choices, or for retaliating against those who hurt us. When we're persecuted for doing good, God is able to ''judge'' His people, to strengthen our faith in Him. He will judge much more severely all those who reject faith in Christ.
Chapter Summary:
Peter continues to describe how Christians should respond when faced with persecution: Take on Christ’s attitude, and expect God’s purpose for your life to include suffering. Set the course of your life away from mind-numbing pleasure seeking. Be alert so that you can pray effectively in these end times. In fact, rejoice if you share in Christ’s sufferings. God uses suffering to refine the faith of His people, and our present suffering contributes to future glory. If you suffer, keep doing good while trusting your soul to your Creator.
Chapter Context:
Peter’s letter to Christians is about how to live in the world while suffering for faith in Christ. Thus far, he has assured Christians that their future is secure with God. We are His holy people, set apart for His purposes. Christians are called to live in submission to every human authority. Now in chapter 4, Peter writes that we should take Jesus’ attitude toward suffering and expect it in this life, avoiding mind-numbing sin while loving each other earnestly. God may use suffering in this life to refine our faith, but the end of all things is near.
Book Summary:
Some 30 years after the resurrection of Jesus, Christians are facing greater persecution for their faith. How should they respond? How should we respond to suffering today? The apostle Peter writes this letter both to comfort believers and to encourage them to stay strong. He urges them to put all their hope in their perfect future with Christ, and to obey and trust Him in the present, even in their suffering. Christ suffered greatly; now the Christ-followers have the opportunity to follow Him even in this, showing His grace and power in their hopefulness, obedience, and faith.
Accessed 7/17/2024 1:46:58 PM
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