4:12 Beloved, don't be astonished at the fiery
trial which has come
to test you, as though a strange thing happened to you.
4:13 But because you are partakers
of Christ's sufferings,
that at the revelation of his glory also you may rejoice with exceeding
4:14 If you are insulted for the name of
Christ, blessed are
because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
On their part he is blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified.
4:15 For let none of you suffer as a
murderer, or a thief,
or an evil doer, or as a meddler in other men's matters.
4:16 But if one of you suffers for being a
Christian, let him not
but let him glorify God in this matter.
4:17 For the time has come for judgment to begin
at the house of God.
If it begins first with us, what will happen to those
who don't obey the gospel of God?
4:18 "If it is hard for the
righteous to be saved, what will happen to the ungodly and the sinner?"
4:19 Therefore let them also who suffer
according to the will of
in doing good entrust their souls to him, as to a faithful Creator.
vs 12,13 What similarities are there between the sufferings we face and
those of Christ?
vs 14 Why is it considered blessed to suffer in Christ's name?
What constitutes suffering for Christ?
vs 15 Does all suffering count as suffering for Christ?
What is a meddler and why would such a person suffer?
vs 16 What makes a person worthy of the name Christian? Do we tend
to use it too casually? Is a person worthy to be called a "Christian"
because he calls himself one?
vs 17,18 How is suffering as a Christian related to our salvation
Suffer Persecution - no surprise!
1Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be
surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something
strange were happening to you.
Paul writes, "everyone who wants to live a godly
life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" 2Tim 2:12
There's a certain inevitability about it just as it was inevitable that
Christ would be crucified. Jesus said to his unbelieving brothers, "The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I
testify that what it does is evil." John 7:7 Thus it is
in the nature of those who follow Christ to be hated by the world. "Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates
you." 1John 3:13 So get familiar with suffering. After
Jesus "was despised and rejected by men, a man of
sorrows, and familiar with suffering." Is 53:3
Fellowship with Christ's Sufferings
1Peter 4:13 But rejoice that you
participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed
when his glory is revealed.
The letter of 1Peter uses the word "suffer" in various forms 17 times.
It's a major theme in 1Peter. How did they participate in the
sufferings of Christ? This is not merely allegorical rhetoric. The
Christians actually suffered. There is of course the common suffering
we experience between the flesh and the Spirit. "For
the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the
Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with
each other, so that you do not do what you want." Gal 5:17
And Jesus "had to be made like his brothers in
every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high
priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins
of the people. Because he himself suffered
when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." Heb
2:17,18 Thus "we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who
has been tempted in every way, just as we are— yet was without sin." Heb
4:15 This is one way Christians fellowship with Christ's suffering.
But as is alluded to throughout 1Peter Christians were being persecuted
for their faith, just as Christ suffered persecution. For example 1Peter
2:23 "When they hurled their insults at him,
he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he
entrusted himself to him who judges justly."
It's a good thing to endure suffering for doing what is right. It is
one way we fellowship with Christ. Paul writes,
want to know Christ and the power of his
resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming
like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection
from the dead." Php 3:10,11 And there is reward in it.
There's no comparison between the meager persecutions we suffer in this
life, even if it be to death, with the glory to be revealed in us in
the future. "Now if we are children, then we are
of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings
in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our
present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be
revealed in us." Rom 8:16,17 And such suffering builds
character and conviction. Therefore "we also
rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces
perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Rom
Insulted for Christ
1Peter 4:14 If you are insulted because
of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of
God rests on you.
What does it mean for the Spirit of glory and of God to rest on a
person? First of all it means that by suffering for Christ you are
glorifying Christ and thus are in the limelight with respect to God's
eternal purpose for your life. In the Old Testament it is often said
the Spirit rested on the prophets when they prophesied. Likewise when
we act on Christ's behalf and suffer for it, it communicates conviction
just as the prophets communicated God's Word. And of the Messiah it is
written, "The Spirit of the LORD will rest on
him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel
and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD"
Is 11:2 These are attributes that likewise can be imparted to those
who suffer persecution for Christ's sake. Those who legitimately suffer
persecution for Christ gain conviction and revelation. So don't make it
your objective to avoid opposition. Opposition builds character.
1Peter 4:15 If
you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind
of criminal, or even as a meddler.
While it is good discipline and just to suffer for sinning, such is not
the category of suffering appropriate for Christians, and certainly not
something Christians should glory in. In fact John writes, "no murdererhas eternal life
in him." 1John 3:15b and Paul writes, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the
kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor
idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers
nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1Cor 6:9,10
The term "meddler" is "allotriepiskopos", which is the combination of
the words "stranger" and "overseer". Such a person is one who usurps
other people's matters. He meddles in things which should be none of
his business. So rather than meddling in other people's affairs, "make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind
your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you" 1Th
Enduring Unjustified Suffering
1Peter 4:16 However, if you suffer as a
Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
The term "Christian" is only used three times in the Bible. "The disciples were called Christians first at
Antioch." Acts 11:26b While the term "saint" was
what insiders called insiders, the term "Christian" was the
term outsiders called insiders, and was used in a derogatory sense. But
it became a term that Christians embraced. To call someone a
"Christian" was meant as an insult, but here Peter turns this intended
insult into an opportunity to rejoice. This is much the same kind of
antithetical rhetoric Jesus used in the sermon on the mount. "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of
righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you
when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil
against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your
reward in heaven." Mt 5:10-12a
And after suffering persecution him, Peter and "the
apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted
worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name." Acts 5:41
So let it also be said of you as with the church at Thessalonica, "among God’s churches we boast about your
perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are
enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a
result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you
are suffering." 2Th 1:4,5
1Peter 4:17,18 For it is time for
judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us,
what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of
God? And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will
become of the ungodly and the sinner?"
The context speaks of Christians suffering persecution. The word
"judgment" is krima most commonly translated "condemnation". The Church
Age in which we live is a time in which the family of God experiences
condemnation by the world. And this should be no surprise, as Jesus
said, "The world hates me because I testify that
what it does is evil." John 7:7b But "God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who
trouble you ... He will punish those who do not know God and do not
obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with
everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and
from the majesty of his power." 2Th
1:6,8,9 So the ungodly and sinners will have their time of
condemnation, and that by God.
Jesus was asked, "Lord, are there few who are
saved?" And He said to them,"Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able." Luke
13:23,24 Elsewhere he said, "narrow is the
gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few
who find it." Mt 7:14 And this is particularly the case
with the rich - those who experience ease in this life. Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich
man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Mt
19:23 Is it easy to be saved? Apparently not. Will many be saved?
By the "righteous" here he is referring to a category of people
spoken of thoughout the Bible as those who characteristically do what
is right. And as John said, "Do not let anyone
lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is
righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil." 1John 3:7,8 And likewise of the ungody
and sinnersl While we are all sinners yet
here he is referring to those who live in sin, as Paul said, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit
the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually
immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor
homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor
slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1Cor
6:9,10. In fact Peter is alluding to a verse in Proverbs which
speaks of a general principle in life. "If the
righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the
sinner!" Pr 11:31 Thus genuine Christians are identified
by their behavior (which is why they were callled "Christians") "This is how we know who the children of God are and
who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right
is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." 1John
Reacting to Suffering
1Peter 4:19 So then, those who suffer
according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful
Creator and continue to do good.
While the world condemns the righteous, causing them to experience
unjustified suffering, God is faithful and will bring about the
vindication he promised. This is meekness. "Meekness toward God is
that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as
good, and therefore without disputing or resisting." Online Bible
Lexicon And "Cast all your anxiety on him because
he cares for you." 1Peter
5:7 In his last breath Jesus committed himself to God saying, "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit." Lk
Let not unjustified suffering cause one to stop doing good. Christians
are not to develop bitterness. If God allows it, then some good will
come of it. Continue to do good. And "consider
Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you
become weary and discouraged in your souls." Heb 12:3
4:12 Do not be surprised at the trials you go through
As if something strange were happening to you 13 But rejoice that you share in Christ's suffering
That when He does return, oh what joy that will bring 14 If you are insulted for Christ, you are blessed
For upon you does the Spirit of God rest 15 Don't suffer for a crime, with the shame it brings
Or even as a meddler in other people's things 16 Suffer as a Christian and in that there is no shame
But rather you should praise the Lord that you bear that name 17 For judgment starts right now with God's family 18 And if with us the judgment starts, what will the
For those who don't obey the gospel of the Lord
If we are scarcely saved, on them will wrath be poured 19 Therefore let them suffering doing as they should
Commit themselves to God and continue doing good.