Are most people destined for Hell?

Yes, some Christians say, most people are destined for Hell, because, 1 Peter 4:18, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Since it’s hard enough getting Christians saved, what chance have non-Christians got?

But the context of that verse has nothing to do with non-Christians going to Hell, or that non-Christians won’t be saved. Instead, it’s a message from Peter to his fellow Christians about the hell they’re already going through right then. That’s clear from verse 12, which starts off with “Dear friends,” so Peter is writing to Christians, the message to them being, “do not be surprised at the painful trial you (Christians) are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.”

Peter is answering Christians who are wondering why God is letting them suffer so much. But rather than wonder, Peter replies, “rejoice (in your sufferings),” verse 13, because “you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” One day the suffering will end, and joy takes over. And if they’re being “insulted because of the name of Christ,” verse 14, then “you are blessed, for the Spirit of Glory and of God rests on you.” They could rest assured that if they were suffering for being Christian, then the Spirit was with them every step of the way to strengthen and comfort them.

And remember, Peter adds, “it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God,” verse 17, so their suffering had purpose. It was happening for a reason. God was working directly in the lives of Christians to get them ready for eternity, and, yes, that could get tough at times, especially when people despised them for being Christians. And if life was that tough on Christians, what on earth was to become of non-Christians (verses 17-18)? So Peter understood what they were going through. He also understood the way through it, verse 19: “those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” Trust Christ and keep on trucking.

Yes, Christians suffer, but “the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast,” 1 Peter 5:10-11. God also understands what we’re going through, and to prove it he’ll pick us up, dust us off and use the situation to make us even stronger.

In context, then, it’s encouragement for Christians. It’s got nothing to do with most people being destined for Hell.


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