Suffering for God or Our Faults? Part 1

In 1 Peter 4, Peter teaches on the difference between suffering according to the will of God and suffering for other reasons. Not all suffering constitutes something that God would choose for us to go through and it is important that we know the difference.

[1Pe 4:1-19 KJV] 1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of [our] life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with [them] to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of [you]: 5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10 As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

11 If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or [as] a thief, or [as] an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if [any man suffer] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 17 For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls [to him] in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Chapter 4 of the letter of 1 Peter continues on the subject of suffering and sanctify. We are commended to the example of Christ who suffered at the hands of his persecutors yet endured the same to attain the goal of fulfilling His purpose in redemption. One who suffers for his faith has ceased from sin as one who lives not for himself but for the fulfillment of the will of God. If we are persecuted, Peter continues (v. 3) be reminded that we once lived after the dictates of the flesh just as those who think we are strange because we no longer do so. This begs the question do those around us who do not embrace our faith take notice that we live differently than they do? We are not to flaunt our differences as a religious badge of honor, but there should be in evidence of our lives something about us that sets us apart because of our commitment to Christ.

Peter reminds us that those who despise us for our faith will one day give an account to God who is described as ready to judge both the living and the dead. This tells us that there are two kinds of judgment: eternal judgment after death and temporal judgment relating to circumstances in this life. We also see when Jesus died as the previous chapter describes he went into the afterlife and preached the gospel to the righteous dead to give them the opportunity whether to accept redemption in Christ.

Peter continues (v. 7) that in his view the end of all things is at hand; therefore, we should be sober-minded and watchful in prayer. This was written 2000 years ago. Was Peter writing of the temporal end of the world as they knew it with the destruction of the temple in 70 AD or was he referring to the end of God’s dealings with men in this dispensation? The apocalypse is a consistent theme in scripture, and it is always spoken of as an immediate thing. In today’s church, the end of all things is seen as an antiquated emphasis only held in consideration by those who are allegedly not very deep in the things of God. Peter warns elsewhere about the effete attitudes of those who will scoff and say “where is the promise of His coming.”

Stay tuned next Sunday for the Continuation of this Teaching

If you would like more intensive study, the Bible Correspondence Course is a Chapter by Chapter Study of the Bible from a Prophetic Perspective, here

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