1 Peter - Suffering
1 Peter 1:1-9 tells us that suffering produces joy. Verse six
says that although we have to suffer grief and trials, we should
greatly rejoice because of the doctrine of the security of the
believer. God had mercy upon us believers, and He gave us new
birth through the resurrection of Christ. Because of this we
have a living hope and an eternal inheritance, and in the meantime, we are
protected through faith by God's power. Our suffering proves
that our faith is genuine, and our faith is of greater value than
gold. Even though we have not yet seen our Savior, we love
Him, and we believe in Him. This fills us with joy, because we are
receiving the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls.
1 Peter 1:10-25 teaches that suffering produces holiness.
Holiness is to the spiritual life what health is to the physical
life. We need to mature spiritually, and suffering helps us
to grow up. The only true holiness that we have is in Christ,
and God wants us to grow to be like Christ. The hope of the
Scriptures lead to obedience, which enables us to see this link between
suffering and holiness. J. Vernon McGee used to as a
challenging question: Is the life that I'm living worth the price that
Christ paid for my redemption?
In 1 Peter 2:1-25, we see that suffering produces separation.
A correct attitude toward suffering separates us from malice, deceit,
hypocrisy, envy, slander, and sinful desires. Each of us is
also separate in our own priesthood--the priesthood of the
believer. We are to live good lives so that even our accusers have to admit they
see us doing good deeds and glorifying God. We are to live
lives of submission to those in authority, even though this may lead to even
more suffering for us.
1 Peter 3 reveals that suffering produces Christian conduct.
This includes Christian conduct in the home, where the love between husbands
and wives leads each to be considerate and submissive to the
other. This also includes Christian conduct in the church,
where believers are to be in unity--like-minded, sympathetic, tender-hearted,
and humble-minded. Believers should bring glory to God, and
each believer should be able to articulate the gospel message. How
else can we evangelize the world? Also, we should be sure
that those who speak evil about us are in error, and that our suffering
comes from doing good, and not from doing evil.
1 Peter 4 teaches that suffering produces obedience to the will of
God. Sometimes God permits us to suffer in order to prevent
us from indulging in sin. Believers have a new nature which
causes them to want to please Christ in all things. Believers are no
longer satisfied to live in the old nature of the flesh. They
know that they must appear before the Judgment Seat of
Christ. So, we are to rejoice if we are reproved for the sake of Christ, and we
should suffer like believers, not like sinners. However,
unbelievers are unable to understand these principals from God's
In 1 Peter 5, we see that suffering produces service, hope, humility,
and patience. We must be patient until Christ's
return. However, since we are assured that He will indeed return, our attitude
should be one of humility. Christ will establish justice and
make things right when He returns.