Robert Wurtz II
For it is time for judgment to begin, starting with the house of God. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who are disobedient to the gospel of God? And if the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the ungodly and sinners? (1 Peter 4:17–18 NET)
One of the most disturbing things about our times is the ever increasing rebellion against God’s word among His own people. We expect the world to trample God’s word under foot, but what are we to make of things when it happens in God’s own house? It’s like multitudes no longer believe in the inspiration of scripture. God has spoken in His word and He will not change His mind. Nevertheless, with each passing day something new is being compromised. And then we wonder why we don’t have revival. Nay verily; we may as well brace ourselves for a bloodbath. If history is any indicator, it’s only a matter of time.
In modern times we can almost see a similar scenario setting up. Radical Islam, a modern and savage version of ancient Assyria and Babylon, is chomping at the bit — waiting to baptize Christians in fire and blood. Their resurgence is no accident. The ancient Assyrians were a murderous band of barbarians who were legends in fierce brutality. Nevertheless, in modern times ISIS, in its insatiable bloodthirstiness, is training up ten-year old boys to execute who they term as “infidels” by carving them with knives or riddling their heads and bodies with bullets. If they had their way they would brutalize every Christian on earth in ways that would make Mary I (Bloody Mary) of England blush. In a figure, these brain-washed and demon-possessed people are massing on the borders of our peace and security. All the while, a general hostility towards Christianity grows in the Western World. Could these people be the agents by which God will purge His house? Are we on the brink of a modern-day 1 Peter 4:17-18?
The Seal of Sorrow
And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. (Ezekiel 9:3b, 4)
Marked out by God
When God set His mark upon the people it was a single Hebrew letter “tav.” This letter, in some ancient texts, is in the shape of an X or a T. Perhaps this symbolized the fact that the righteous would be saved but scarcely (1 Peter 4:18 lit. with great difficulty). 1 Peter 4:18 tells us that judgment begins at the house of God, but if it first begins at us, and if the righteous scarcely be saved; what shall the end be of those who obey not the gospel? To those who so rightly deserve judgment — judgment will be applied first, and to each one in their own order. The Lord knows they who are His; His name is in their foreheads.
Driving God from His Temple
It is a dangerous thing to let sin reign in our mortal bodies. It is akin to allowing the devil to run rampant in the Temple in Jerusalem. Satan is the great defiler of sanctuaries. He lures men and women to backslide away from God where He once dwelled in them. Have we not all seen it? They did run well and now they are moving in carnality and sin. What a dangerous place to be in. We have some examples of how these things play out from the Old Testament. God never leaves without some form of warning.
In chapter 8 God showed Ezekiel that the ancients were driving His presence from the Temple because of their lewd imaginations. In verse 8-10 we read: Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, printed (carved out) upon the wall round about. The leaders were committing abominations in their heads and they thought that God was not watching. Verse 12 reads: Then He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are committing in the dark, each man in the room of his carved images? For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.’” For this cause God was being driven from the Temple because of their sin (Ezekiel 8:6).
A Deadly Combination
(A Hard Heart, a Soft Chisel, and a Weak Arm)
When a generation hardened itself against God throughout history, God always stepped up the power, wisdom and fortitude of His ministers to meet their highhanded backsliding head on (Isaiah 50:7, Jeremiah 1:8-10). It cost the prophets their lives, including John the Baptist. All but one of the Apostles were martyred according to tradition. Even the Lord Jesus. Anyone that communicates the life of God to this darkened world is a target of the enemy.
The quaker philosopher Elton Trueblood once stated that “By the year 2000 the church will be a conscious minority surrounded by an arrogant, militant paganism.” This is 2015 and we are not only surrounded by an arrogant militant paganism, but by radical Islam. The time to get serious was many years ago and yet the masses have slumbered. For it is time for judgment to begin, starting with the house of God. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who are disobedient to the gospel of God? And if the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the ungodly and sinners? (1 Peter 4:17–18 NET)