We believe that the judgment referred to in 1 Peter:4:17 is a judgment of persecution that God allows His church to go through for the purpose of purifying and strengthening it. As the process takes place, believers are supported by His grace and mercy. It has value for them, and it glorifies Him—even when it ends in the death of the saints. The contrast is judgment without grace and mercy, which takes place against those who reject God's salvation and will suffer eternal punishment.
Consider the record of the persecuted believers in Hebrews:11:35-40. Their testimony has been an encouraging witness to those who followed after them. Persecution has caused the church to grow just as a pruned fruit tree increases in its fruitfulness. History confirms that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church, and as Tertullian noted, "The more we are cut down, the more we persist."
As believers, we simply and with meekness hold fast to God's Word and reflect its truth in our lives. Be aware, however, that we will invite persecution from both the world and from a professing church that regards us as intolerant, racist, bigoted, self-righteous, lacking compassion, arrogant, and on and on. As the apostasy increases in the US, there is every indication that persecution will also increase. —Excerpt from TBC Q&A, February 2011
Key Scripture verses related to "Persecution"