In Peter’s first letter, he is exhorting his readers to live the sort of holy life that he learned from Jesus. In making this point, Peter quotes a scriptural proverb which they would all recognize.
AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?
– 1 Peter 4:18 (quoting Proverbs 11:31)
Peter knew from his observations of Jesus and from the experiences of his own life, that living for God was not a trouble-free existence. You may even remember that we have pondered this verse in our daily devotions:
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
– John 16:33 (Jesus speaking)
Tribulation is part and parcel of this life. Why? Because of the sin (that is, evil) that entered the world through the original sin of Adam and Eve. Sin is the curse of this world – otherwise, it would be heaven on earth. As it is, we find both heaven and hell in the earth.
Here’s another relevant scripture we have previously viewed:
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
– John 14:27 (Jesus speaking)
In the world are people and things provoking our hearts to be “troubled” and “fearful.” To counter this, Jesus gives us His peace.
Eventually, all trouble ceases because we leave this earth. As we have also seen:
For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.
– Hebrews 13:14
It’s only the “city” to come that is completely peaceful; this one we have here can be chaotic and tormenting at times.
God has not promised to exempt us from all trouble, but instead to “save” (i.e. deliver, redeem, sustain) us through it. This is the “difficulty” in which we are “saved” in the proverb Peter is using. The godless person, however, has no hope of divine support in his trials; he chooses to experience them by himself.
Those who do right in the sight of God have their souls buoyed during difficult times.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, I look forward to the strength you can bring to my soul in both good times and bad…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)