Peter wrote that God’s judgment began at the house of God (the Church)
1 Peter 4 “17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
Does this mean that only few Christians will be saved?
Does it mean that God will judge believers?
No we have to understand the context of the events of the 1st Century.
It was the time of great tribulation in the 1st Century when the Churches were persecuted all over the Roman Empire by the Jews and by the Romans.
1 Peter 4 “12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.“
The judgment of God was to allow this persecution to come to the Church.
This was not “condemnation” but a judgment of who is truly a believer vs unbeliever in the Church.
Those who truly believe in Jesus will become strong in faith during persecution.
But the deceivers in the church will fall away and join the persecutors!
It is like the parable of the wheat and tares in MATT 13:24-31.
God allows deceivers to persecute the Church. He allows people to be hardened in their hearts so that they persecute the believers. He does this to refine the faith of the true believers.
This is how God “judges” the Church by separating the true believers from the false.
In the 1st Century there was great persecution. Therefore it was hard for the righteous to be saved.
But today we live in a time when there is not much persecution. Therefore it is not hard to be saved. One must simply believe in Jesus Christ to be saved.
The believer has already passed from death to life and will never be judged.
John 5 “24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
The believer will be kept blameless till the end.
Jude “24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”
The ungodly/sinner is the unbeliever who will be condemned in the end.