“Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:5–6, AV)
For a large portion of my adult life, I worked in industry where my technical skills were put to the test. It was a constant encounter with the questions, “Why!” As an engineer working in the printing industry, this question would always come to the front. “Why doesn’t the machine work properly?” “Why does the printed product not look right?”
One day I received a call from the plant engineer in a large printing plant that one of their machines was not functioning correctly. Two of the six print sections on the machine would not work. I spent an entire day and a half investigating the problem. I asked the machine’s operator about what might have caused the problem and he stated that it just happened. I was stumped and began to think that I just needed to recalibrate the two units so they would move to the correct printing position. The problem was that I did not know why they should be out of position in the first place.
At shift change, one of the operators from another machine came over and asked what I was doing. In our conversation, he happened to mention that the crew a couple days ago accidentally engaged the two sections with some of the components in the wrong position and jammed up the works. It was so bad that they could not disengage the units and had to have maintenance essentially pry them apart. This was the cause of the problem. The “Why” question was answered and I was able to get them working again.
You see, there is a reason for everything. It may seem intuitive, but there is a reason that we preach the gospel to the world. Sometimes, we look at the world around us and we see people given over to all sorts of fleshly dissipation, passions, and other destructive behaviors. We might even ask our selves the question, “They are so bad, why should we even try to preach the gospel to them?” We may think that they would not respond anyway. We must not forget that apart from the grace of God we would be the same as they. In fact, when we assess our past, we will conclude that that is where we once were ourselves.
Peter here, wrote that people apart from the gospel are given over to destructive patterns of their own fleshly desires and that they are headed for judgment. He went on to say that this is the reason that we preach the gospel to them. Their lives are jammed up with sin and their current lives and destinies are not good. We have a better way, the way of grace. So, the reason that we preach the gospel is so they may experience the better way, that they may escape eternal punishment and live the better life as God has intended.
We need to have a passion to reach a lost and dying world with the message of hope. Honestly, sometimes we lose the passion for those who are lost. The are many reasons for this. Perhaps the main one is that we forget the depths from which Christ rescued each and every one of us. Let us never forget that we once were headed on the path to destruction and by God’s grace we are now headed on the path to blessing. Look back to the great moment when God changed your destiny and renew your passion to preach the gospel. This is the reason we preach it, so that others too may experience the same blessings of God as us.