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 before Christ appearing, 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 gospel 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 we just quoted from Peter the Apostle. God had some unfinished business in the previous age.
We see some of a byproduct of this in Matthew 27
52 And the graveswere opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the gravesafter 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 (first) 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 was all done while His human body was in a cavewith a stone placed in front of it.
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”. And of the Old Testament passage that “known to God from eternity are all His works. That God pre-played every outcome meticulously and His purposes are played out to perfection. All things make perfect sense on the other side of the veil of human reasoning, and what God planned for happens to a tee.
1. That the Elect obtain God’s Glory. 2. that wickedness is trapped and treated. 3. and God extends His forgiveness and forbearance to those made in His image. That all of His edicts are carried out to perfection. God is sovereign, and that “God does nothing but what He reveals to His servants and prophets”. How much more to us the Elect who are seated with Him in Heavenly places.
The Righteous Judgement of God.
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. He makes things right.
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 abstains from annihilation and goes 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 into the world. 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. That too is a testimony to His patience, in hopes that you will come clean in His prescribed way to receive eternal life.
To think that you could come clean on your own, 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 patience of God “because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed” Romans 3.25. But then they too were judged.
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 herwings, but you were not willing!” God had patiently pleaded with a Israel through the mouth of the prophets for a few thousand years. And how many of them were found righteous . According to the Psalms and quoted by Paul “none no not one”. Romans 3.10
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 gives mercy and grace and extends His favors over and over and over.
God doesn’t need to explain anything to anyone, but He does to His Elect.
As we see Paul say in Romans “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 as well. Even as we saw judgment with the Jews first, so shall it be to other people “for their is no partiality with God for He is no respecter of persons”. He loves all nationalities equally.
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 of the Jews how many were worthy? How many of them did what was right?
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. The Jews were used as an example but they have no preference with God.
We have to trust the processes and patience of God.
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 isone 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 held in the earth, 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, or God would be unfair.
David had this to say of his son from Bathsheba, that “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” This boy had no opportunity to be saved according to the gospel but was still seen in the place past time, with the potential to “live according to God in the spirit” like Peter talked about.
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 Bookof 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 as evidenced in Revelation 20, 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 only about peoples invisible part of their mind, soul and spirit. After all that is the only part of you that can interact 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. God looks at the motives of the heart.
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 with great importance to God. None were lost. Whatever God sowed into the earth, was harvested back to Him, even as He said through Isaiah, so shall My Word be that proceeded from My mouth. It shall not return to me void, but shall accomplish all My desire”. And what is God’s desire? That His Word in us, returns to Him, with us in it. Are you in His Word? Because that is the vehicle that takes you home. Word.
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 in Romans says this “as by one man’s disobedience manywere made sinners (Adam), so by the obedience of one, Christ, shall manybe made righteous. And “For as by one man’s disobedience manywere made sinners, so by the obedience of one, Christ, shall manybe 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 there on earth.
If God’s promise to Abraham is not enough, we need to go no further than to the Throne Room in the Book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ, where people from every culture are present ‘for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, language, 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 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 another piece of that pie in the sky we call Glory.
There are many that confess in Jesus, that are stuck at the crossed waiting for the second coming to save them. These are farther away from the kingdom then those that reject elements of modern Chritianity and still do what’s right in 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 the love of God. They made a home for Him.
Just a note of caution: do not think you can hear 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 presented to you. I would not want to be found a lazy or pre-occupied servant where Christ said “take the talents from him who buried them and cast him into outer darkness where there will be wailing and knashing of teeth. Woe to them for failed opportunities. Hear what the Word of God says.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.