Christ’s suffering was just the start. Dying with Him, symbolized in baptism, is only the beginning. Life with God is a continuous life of obedience—following Christ—even when it means suffering for doing what God wants. That is the essence of discipleship that is largely overlooked. A case could be made that a majority of those who adopt the name of Christ engage in mere symbolism. Say a prayer and go for a swim and you’re done. Real, effective discipleship is much more.
And it is not a rejection of debauchery that is the hardest part. It is the persecution from others who hate God’s people for not behaving the way they behave. Misery loves company, and hates those who have escaped it. The curious aspect of this passage is that God’s judgement is just as motivated—perhaps even more so—by the persecution people enact against His people and not merely sinful behavior. Ultimately, the thing people are judged for is rebellion. Debauchery may be enticing, but self-determination is the essence of the sin nature. Both destroy lives.
Everyone hears the Gospel or at least enough of it to respond. Even those who lived before Christ. Some embrace and follow, trusting God and following His wishes. More choose to create their own little kingdom of deluded destruction.