Q. Your website has been a true blessing to me. Your clear, concise, logical and Biblical based responses to questions have made me realize what an awesome God we serve, especially when it comes to His amazing grace when we believe on His precious Son who saved us. I fully subscribe to OSAS, but recently have been wondering about 1 Peter 4:18: “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (KJV). This passage seems to suggest some degree of uncertainty about salvation. Surely we’re either saved or not saved, depending on whether we believe, or not? How can we be “scarcely saved” as if some only make it by the “skin of our teeth”, so to speak? Am I misunderstanding the language here?
A. Peter was talking about the difference between suffering as a Christian and suffering for the commission of a crime (1 Peter 4:12-19). He said we shouldn’t be ashamed if we’re ever required to suffer for our faith, but should rejoice and praise God instead. If we who are saved are made to suffer now, imagine how will it be for those who aren’t saved later.
Also, when using the King James translation you have to keep in mind that you’re reading a 400 year old version of the English language. The meanings of many words have changed since then.
To us, the word “scarcely” in 1 Peter 4:18 means “just barely”. But 400 years ago it also meant “with difficulty” or “not easily”. So Peter wasn’t saying we’re just barely saved, but that it was difficult to save us, not an easy thing to do.
Of course, due to God’s grace there was no difficulty on our end of the deal, but there was great difficulty on His end. It cost Him the life of his Son. So this verse is not about OSAS, or about the idea that we’re just barely saved, but about the extreme sacrifice God made to save us.
‘Therefore he is able to save completely (to the uttermost) those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25).