Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
By Gary Wilkerson
“The time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). God wants a pure church so that we can be the people he truly longs for us to be — clean and untainted by the world. He wants to do a deep work in us in order to refine us and make us sensitive to the holy, awesome God that we serve.
The word judgment has more than one meaning. It can be translated as the wrath of God, which is for those who do not obey the Lord, but the judgment that comes to the house of God is not the wrath of God; rather, it is like a refiner’s fire. It brings us to a place where our lives are aligned with what he has for us.
The entire fourth chapter of 1 Peter is giving definition to the idea of what our lives can look like when the holy, loving judgment of God comes and purifies us. He draws us to a place of holiness: “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” (4:1). Arming oneself speaks of walking in the fire of the Holy Spirit so that we might be a people that are saying yes to his plans for us.
In 1 Peter 4:8, Peter says we are to “have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’” We see that holiness is not just what we do not do, it is how we live. The greatest form of holiness is love; in fact, “he who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).
Holiness, the refining fire, the righteous judgment of God — all these will get to the core of your heart and change you. And that type of judgment will cause you to cry out, “Lord Jesus, come!”