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Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 4:14-19
The Righteous are Scarcely Saved
1. Do you ever think being a Christian is too difficult? Too demanding?
2. Righteous (dikaios): “in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God” … innocent, faultless, guiltless…used of him whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is wholly conformed to the will of God...therefore...approved of or acceptable of God” (Online Bible Greek Lexicon).
a. Just, without prejudice or partiality in the treatment of others in judgment, character and conduct.
b. Righteousness (dikaiosune): “the character or quality of being right or just”; it was formerly spelled “rightwiseness,” which clearly expresses the meaning.
3. Righteous are contrasted with sinners, Matt. 9:12-13.
4. The righteous are scarcely saved ("with difficulty"), 1 Pet. 4:16-18.
I. NONE ARE RIGHTEOUS IN THE ABSOLUTE SENSE OF SINLESS PERFECTION, Rom. 3:10.
A. Because All have Sinned, Psa. 14:1-3; Rom. 3:23.
1. Yet, we can hunger for righteousness and be filled, Matt. 5:6 (6:33).
2. The Bible speaks of righteous people:
a. OT: Abel, Heb. 11:4; Noah, Daniel and Job, Ezek. 14:14.
b. NT: Joseph, Matt. 1:19; Zacharias and Elizabeth, Lk. 1:6 (“walking in all the commandments…); Simeon, Lk. 2:25; John, Mk. 6:20.
* 3. How can we be righteous, since all have sinned?
B. The Example of Israel: God's Grace and an Obedient Faith, Deut. 6:23-25; 9:4-6.
1. Obeyed the law of God--Obtained favor from God, Ezek. 18:19-22.
2. Live by (means of) faith, Hab. 2:3-4 (an enduring faith, Heb. 10:38).
C. God is the Justifier of All Who have Faith in Jesus, Rom. 3:26.
1. The gospel reveals how God counts sinners righteous (forgives) so that we have salvation and eternal life, Rom. 1:16-17.
2. Faith is accounted for righteousness, Rom. 4:5-8.
a. Noah: Great example of saving faith - Heir of the "righteousness that is according to faith," Heb. 11:7 (10:39).
b. "By grace...through faith," Gen. 6:8, 9, 22; 7:1.
3. Christians are bondservants of righteousness, Rom. 6:13 (18-22).
a. Active, responsive, obedient faith to words of Christ, Matt. 6:33.
b. Be just and upright in heart and life, before God and men, Eph. 5:8-10.
II. THE RIGHTEOUS ARE SCARCELY SAVED, 1 Pet. 4:18.
A. The Righteous are Saved with Difficulty.
1. With toil, exertion, strenuous effort of faith, cf. Acts 27:7, 8, 16; 14:18 (molis, from molos, toil - "with difficulty").
2. With the effort of faith, cf. Jas. 2:20-24.
3. Not works of merit, for we have all sinned.
4. Works of faith, like Abel, Noah, Abraham, Daniel, et al.
a. Obey Jesus Christ, Heb. 5:8-9.
b. Suffer according to the will of God, 1 Pet. 4:19.
c. Commit our souls to God by doing good (Eph. 2:10).
B. It Takes Effort to be a Faithful Christian! 2 Tim. 3:16-17
C. Where will the Ungodly and Sinner Appear? 1 Pet. 4:18
1. "what will become of the godless man?" Prov. 11:31
2. These will not appear in salvation, because they do not live by faith (2 Cor. 5:7), but are blind and dead even as they live (1 Tim. 5:6).
3. They appear in the second death, Rev. 21:8.
D. This is the Urgency of the Gospel, 2 Cor. 5:11.
1. Christ loves righteousness and hates lawlessness, Heb. 1:9.
a. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6).
b. "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt. 6:33).
2. Which will you be: The righteous Christian, or the ungodly sinner?
 Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Vol. 2, p. 535). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.
 Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 1047). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: April 6, 2016