"For the time has come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begins with us, what shall the end be for them that obey not the Gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
1 Peter 4:17-18
It is interesting to note that when God planned the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, he began with judging the righteous first—the people who profess to believe in God. It doesn't sound familiar? Then, let’s look it up.
In Genesis 18:23-26, Abraham asks God,
“Will Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure, there be fifty righteous within the city; will Thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from Thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked; and that the righteous should get as the wicked, that be far from Thee; shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
In a more modern version it would say, “Lord, suppose there were only fifty righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah, would You destroy the righteous with the wicked?" And of course, God responds,
“If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.”
So, an entire nation would have been spared if fifty righteous people existed in Sodom and Gomorrah. Most of us already know the dismal end of this story. Abraham, wondering if God will find fifty people, negotiates the number of the righteous down to ten people. So, God promises Abraham if He finds ten—ten righteous people in the nation of Sodom and Gomorrah, he will spare the entire nation. We can imagine that God, being God, searches the hearts of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, and after not finding ten people who within their hearts stand on the side of righteousness, He destroys the two cities and its inhabitants.
Let’s fast forward to today’s world. In our fast paced era with all its bells and whistles, fast cars and fast people; quick fixes and hot tempers; high tech and low standards--where do you fit? Many of us spend far too much time looking at, and complaining about, the routines of non-Christians and those who do not believe in God. When in fact, we should be paying attention to the caveat found in today's verse, remembering that when the time comes, we will be judged first, not them. Will we be found righteous in the eyes of God or as the verse says, scarcely saved?
So, the question today is, if God approached a beloved human being today, the same way he appeared to Abraham, and told him or her that He planned on destroying your city tomorrow; would your city and its inhabitants be saved because of you? —Or, would you ignite the flame that burns the city? L.
Study Reference: 1 Peter 4:17-18, Genesis 18
From: "Starting With Us." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell
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