The judgment of God, according to their works.
Peter makes this peculiar statement in his first epistle, “for this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, for them to be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit”. Showing us that those in the previous generations that did not know the gospel in its fullness, they had another opportunity to hear it in its entirety, so they could live in the same way as God.
They had another chance to respond more appropriately to the invitation. That Christ after his bodily death descended down into Hades and gave to the spirits of humans a way out, that “they may live according to God in the Spirit” as scripture said.
We see some of the fruit of this in Matthew 27
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many”.
Even as Paul described of this event in Ephesians 4, that “Now that he (Christ) ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, in order for Him to fill all things.” Meaning Jesus Christ saturated everything everwhere in His original construct of Spirit and Truth.
This is why scripture says in Hebrews 4 that “13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and exposed unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do”.
We know according to scripture that God is just. Meaning that God is fair. That He judges and presides over everything. That any question anyone would have about fairness of the why’s, where’s and the when’s, that God is just and the justifier.
Even Peter says that, “God is not willing that any should perish but that all should repent (the individuals responsibility) and receive eternal life”. God does go out of his way to do so as seen in the previous text and as evidenced by Christ at the cross where He paid the price for our short comings so we wouldn’t have to. A fair God wouldn’t do that. You would have to receive life based upon your own merit and you don’t have any .
God gives everyone ample opportunity to repent and come clean by being washed by His sacrificial lamb, a concept that Israel portrayed on holy days as a foretelling of the Christ that would come. A just God wouldn’t do that. You don’t deserve a full pardon. Even during your best behavior on your best day, God owes you nothing on your own merit.
To think that is the sin of “self righteousness. That was the sin of the Jews. They thought they were the right for others to try to emulate when in reality they were a testimony to the forebearance of God “because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed” Romans 3.25.
Gods forbearance with the Israelites lasted a few thousand years. His testimony with the Jews was a show of His patience as shown here. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, those who kill the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” This is another showing of Gods patience.
God need not answer anybody. When the account of things are finalized, everyone will see that God is more than fair, He witholds His judgment all along the way. He doesn’t need to explain it to anyone, but He does to His Elect.
“Eternal life to those who by a patient continuence of doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, but indignation, anguish and wrath on the soul of everyone who does evil. To the Jews first and also to the gentiles” meaning other nationalities. Even as we saw it with the Jews first, so shall it be to other people as well.
The Jews were given to show us that the patience of God has an end. And that God had consistent mercy on them for a few thousand years and in Gods final judgment if the Jews how many were worthy? How many of them did what was right? According to the Psalmist then quoted later by Paul in Romans 3.
10 As it is written:
“There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
We can understand more clearly the judgment of God from Paul here in his letter to the Romans, that they were [b]treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds” 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, to them indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first (as an example) and also of the [c]Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.” So you can see a full pardon is offered to all of humanity indiscreetly.
Your limited understanding should not triumph over God’s word in your decision making process. You have to trust what is written more than what is presented to your view through common events.
Paul puts it like this in Romans 2 saying “God in His forbearance had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, for Him to be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Here again showing us that God has mercy, meaning He gives you favor you don’t deserve.
And again from Romans 3.
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all [f]and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified [g]freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a [h]propitiation (a payment rendered) by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, (and levied against our soul) 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, for Him to be just and the justifier of the one who has faith/trust in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a person is [i]justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.”
So the question is then, if God had that patience and forgiveness to the previous generations who were in the dark about God, will He not have the same Mercy to other generations and cultures in the same circumstances? The answer is yes.
We see here another time given, like those souls Christ preached to in the underworld. There is another collection of souls who get the same opportunity at the end of the New Covenant era, to receive eternal life as spoken of in Revelation 20, 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before [c]God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books”.
This was all done after God’s first fruits were already established in His presence, showing us that God harvests His elect to Glory first, then deals with each one “according to their works”. God is just, and judge of all His own works. God is supreme.
We see that God has a day of reconning for those who did not repent and seek to persue to attain to all the riches of Christ in their lifetime, but however they will recieve a reward based upon what they did attain. But be careful what you think you deserve because we see in Peter that “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the earth and all man’s works shall melt with fervent heat, for the eternal to be clean.
Meaning that people’s kingdoms and everything they did in a carnal way has no place in God’s Heavenly Kingdom . He is concerned primarily about peoples invisible part of their mind, soul and spirit. After all that is the only part of you that interacts with God of being like His things. The emotions is the energy that motivates good deeds done by faith without mandates of laws. Not just the laws of Moses, but any law.
Christ used the parable of the loaves in fishes, when explaining what He collects. That when everyone was done eating bread, even all the fragments that were dropped were picked up. For us there are some people who are the fragments who are gathered up last. This is the final harvest of miscellaneous scraps. None were lost.
I personally would rather be found and counted with the Elect of God who attain to all the riches of Christ while we are in this life, then to find myself on the other side regretting lost opportunities.
For those who ask “are there many or few that are saved?” Paul addresses this in Romans saying “as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one, Christ, shall many be made righteous. And “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one, Christ, shall many be made righteous.” Meaning more than are not.
God gives eternal life to as many as He wants. So even the Elect cannot be smug in a self righteousness.
Christ making “many righteous”, is the fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham to “Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be”. So is the seed of Christ of those who are born into Him. They are many like the stars of heaven. Blessed be God for His Glorious works of salvation. Not one crumb was missing from the several loaves, but all were collected, so don’t think “the world is going to Hell in a handbasket”. You can’t see what is taking place from down here.
If this is not enough, we need to go to the Throne Room in Revelation where people from every culture are present ‘for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation”. And may we add, throughout time, even to the end of creation.
But, Woe to those who collect people like trophies to validate their cause and denomination. To vindicate and justify themselves over others.
Even as Paul preached in Corinthians “one says I am of Appolos, are you not just acting like silly men? However there are many competing demons doing the same things, collecting people like trophies. However they will have nothing to brag about from the fire.
Paul expounded on this more in Romans
Since no other foundation can be laid which Christ laid, however we can build upon it, this shows for us that the things that we build physically would fall through because His Kingdom is Spirit and Truth. So the things that are built upon it are Spirit and Truth, being motivators of the heart and love. So the kind deeds that many have done inhumanity, are not overlooked. even as Christ and said, for in that you’ve done it to the least of one of these you’ve done it for me. Meaning that those who have sacrificed their lives for the souls and welfare of others, may get a big piece of that pie in the sky.
There are many that confess Jesus that are stuck at the crossed waiting for the second coming that are farther away from the kingdom then those that reject elements of modern Chritianity and still do what’s right I’m the spirit.
1st Corinthians 15 spells out that Jesus Christ is first, then the Elect being first fruits are next, then those who are Christs at his coming” as the order of those He collects.
The lesson from Peter discussing Christ going to the underbelly of the Earth to preach faith so the spirits of the dead can live according to the spirits of men, shows for us that everyone has equal opportunity. This should also strike at the root of modern-day Phariseeism, that if somebody doesn’t sit in the pews of your church doesn’t mean they’re going to hell. “God doesn’t dwell in buildings made with hands” but He does live in hearts filled with love.
Just a note if caution: do not think you can here the deep things of God and go back to your old self. You are responsible for what you do with the revelations and understandings God has given you.
The Kingdom of God is at hand