The day of judgment and vindication
They will give an account to the one who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was also preached to those who are now dead, so that, although they might be judged in the flesh according to human standards, they might live in the spirit according to God’s standards. 1 Peter 4:5-6 CSB
Peter knows the hardship Christians are dealing with due to the persecution instigated by non-believers. He understands their plight and knows their lot as they face harassment and verbal abuse. Peter tells them that their opponents must appear before Christ, who calls the adversaries to give account of their words and deeds. Peter also reminds believers that in the end of all time, everyone, both the living and the dead, will “give an account to the One who stands ready to judge,” the Lord. For believers, this is a form of encouragement, for although they may not experience justice in this life, in the end, when they are in the presence of the Lord, they will be found righteous due to Jesus Christ and will live eternally in heaven. Peter encourages his readers and tells them that they must view life through God’s eyes. Peter contrasts the phrase according to men with the phrase according to God. The adversaries of Christ’s followers were of the opinion that by punishing the believers, perhaps even to the point of death, they were defeating the Christians. But they did not know that in God’s sight believers continue to live in the spirit. Fellow believers observing the injustice which these Christian martyrs experienced, however, ought not to be discouraged. In the sight of God, believers continue to live in the spirit, because “the spirit returns to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7) and therefore is immortal. The Christian knows that on the basis of his faith in Christ “[he] will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). Yet, for non-believers, this is a call to repentance and accepting the gospel message of Jesus Christ. This judgment day is unknown and can come suddenly. Matthew 24:42 and 44 says: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come…So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” So, for Christians, this is a call to persevere in your faith. Although you may experience suffering and judgment “in the flesh according to human standards” which is flawed and temporary, because of your relationship with Jesus Christ, you “might live in the spirit according to God’s standards.” For non-believers, this is a call to action: repent and believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved (Acts 3:19) for you do not know when your life will end (James 4:14) or when Jesus Christ will return.
Isaac De Guzman