“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
For the time has come
Verse 17 carries mighty solemn words for the household of faith. Judgment will begin with the family of God. This judgment is a judgment in time, not eternity. No Christian will ever face the Great White Throne judgment (Jn 5:24; Ro 8:1). However, a Christian will face discipline for stepping out of fellowship with God. This discipline takes place in time. We will not meet this discipline in eternity.
“Time” means appointed time or the opportune point of time when God judges the Christian, especially when given divine discipline. If a believer does not confess his sins, then he faces the chastening hand of God. So this is dealing with self-judgment, the ability of the Christian to scrutinize his life in time (1 Co 11:28-30).
The time “has come” for living in constant fellowship with God, but we keep postponing it. We put it off, and our life is just as shabby today as it was five years ago. We do not regularly confess our sins. How long do you suppose God is going to put up with this? We reached a plateau in our spiritual life. We have ceased from the confession of sin. We are no longer in tune with God.
God wants Christians to deal with their sins now.
There was a time when we kept short accounts with God. Christianity was vibrant and alive to us. We shared our faith. Then someone soured us. They discouraged us, and we lost heart. We stopped an ongoing fellowship with the Lord. We felt justified because we were not appreciated. Since we will not deal with this now, God may have to deal with it.