1 Peter4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf
Suffering isn’t something that many of us particularly enjoy, so verses like 1 Peter 4:16, James 1:2-3 1, and Matthew 5:10-12 2 are a bit confusing. The natural response when suffering comes is to escape it, not be happy!
However, 1 Peter explains to us that we have many reasons to praise God for trials, even though they do bring pain.
- Suffering for righteousness sake (not because of sin or mistakes we have made) comes because the wicked are convicted by our actions and message (1 Peter 3:14-17) 3
- Suffering for righteousness sake connects us with Christ, who suffered on our behalf (1 Peter 3:18) 4 (1 Peter 4:1) 5
- Those who suffer for righteousness sake will also partake in the Glory of Christ (1 Peter 4:13) 6
While these are wonderful reasons, the greatest one for rejoicing is found in the three words “as a Christian.”
The Christian life (if lived properly) is absolutely guaranteed to bring suffering. There is persecution from the unsaved who are convicted by our Gospel witness, from the culture because of our testimony, and from Satan who wants to keep us from growing Spiritually.
So when suffering comes, it means that we are doing something right!
Of course the phrase “as a Christian” is also incredibly important because it means we are suffering for the right reasons. Someone who suffers because of sinful actions because of sin shouldn’t respond with rejoicing, but confession and repentance. But those who truly do suffer “for righteousness sake” can rest in the fact that it brings God Glory.
1 Peter 4:16 is an important reminder that a comfortable life without pain should not be our goal. In fact this could mean we are dishonoring God, and Satan doesn’t see a reason to attack us! Instead we should daily look for opportunities to stand on the front lines spiritually, and “endure hardness as a good Solder of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3)
- “Count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” ↩
- “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” ↩
- 1Pet. 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 1Pet. 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. ↩
- For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: ↩
- 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; ↩
- 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. ↩