Preaching & Teaching

A Warning and an Encouragement

It is hard for the righteous to be saved. 1 Peter 4:18 (NIV)

Peter is speaking to Christians about the difficulty of the process of salvation (being saved from sin’s power), and he has a warning and an encouragement for us.

A warning to those who find it easy.
It is hard for the righteous to be saved. So if you find it easy, there is good reason to question whether you are really saved. Those who are with Christ are engaged in a struggle against sin in their own lives. If you don’t know much about the struggle with sin, there is good reason to question whether you are really saved.

An encouragement to those who find it hard.
Maybe when you came to faith in Christ, you thought you would always have peace. But to your surprise, you have found that there are more struggles going on in your soul than ever before. That’s the surest sign that you are on the right path.

The Christian life is like a fish swimming upstream. You are going against the currents of the world, the flesh, and the devil. It’s not easy to overcome a besetting sin. It’s not easy to maintain your passion for serving Jesus. It is not easy when you see other people enjoying a blessing that God didn’t give you. Your struggle to honor Christ in all these things is the evidence that you are going in the right direction.

God isn’t finished with you yet. You are still in the process of being saved, and that process isn’t easy. So Peter says, “Those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good” (4:19).

Is the Spirit speaking words of warning or encouragement to you today?

Colin Smith is senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church, a multi-campus church located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, and president of Unlocking the...

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