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 Word.

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.