Them that Suffer

1Peter 4:15-19 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. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf 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? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 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. 

‘Busybody’ the inspector of another; meddling in the affairs of others and forgetting his own (Lev. 19:16; Pro. 20:3; 2Thess. 3:11-12; 1Tim. 5:13).

Christian suffering does not consist of suffering for murder or as a thief, for being an evildoer or a busybody (4:15); or for suffering for any crime listed in Romans 1:18-32; 1Corinthians 6:9-11 and Galatians 5:19-21.

‘Christian’ this so-often misused word means Christ-like or to be like Christ. The meaning of this definition are clearly explained in 1Peter 2:21-23 when He is given as the example for us to follow in.

‘Judgment’ [Greek: krima] meaning judgment, damnation and punishment. If the righteous are found sinning He judges them first, and if they are found righteous He delivers them from judgment (Gen. 18:23-32; 19:22; Ex. 14:13-31; Ezek. 9:1-11; etc.). The idea here is that if God will punish the righteous when they sin, He will surely punish the ungodly. If the ones who are righteous are scarcely saved, there is no possible hope of sinners being saved.

‘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’ let them that suffer for well-doing endure it and commit themselves to God who is faithful to avenge all such (Heb. 10:30-31). ‘The will of God’ always refers to living for God on His moral standards alone, not those set by traditions or society, or our own opinion of what a Christian should look like, so that we can set an example through our daily lives (not preaching) for others to give them hope, thus it will always be important to live godly lives (1:16; 2:21-23; Matt. 5:48) so that we do not cause stumbling through half-truths to others (1 Cor. 10:32; 1Jn. 2:10).

Christian Suffering

1Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy. If you be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you; for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 

‘Fiery’ [Greek: purosis] burning. ‘Trial’ the Greek word poorosis meaning ignition, that is, (specifically) smelting (figuratively conflagration, calamity as a test) – a burning, trial.

‘But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy’ this is the 6th and last New Testament prophecy in 1Peter that is unfulfilled. Ten rewards are mentioned in Scripture for Christian suffering: Eternal consolation (2Cor. 1:7; 4:17); making Jesus known (2Cor. 4:11); life to others (2Cor. 4:12); making grace manifest (2Cor. 4:15); greater glory in heaven (2Cor. 4:17); guarantee of judgment (2Thess. 1:5); reign with Christ (2Tim. 2:12); Spirit upon us (1Pet. 4:14); glory to God (1Pet. 4:16); great joy (1Pet. 4:13-14).

‘Partakers of Christ’s sufferings’ Eight facts about Christian suffering: Suffering is not strange or unusual for Christians (4:12; 2Tim. 3:12). We should rejoice when we are partakers of the sufferings of Christ (4:13; Matt. 5:10). The greater the suffering, the greater the joy and the glory (4:13; Rom. 8:17-18). Besides the greater glory to come the Christian has the Holy Spirit upon him now to enable him to endure (4:14; Rom. 8:26-27). Christian sufferings glorify God (4:14; Rom. 8:17-18). It is an honour, not a shame, to suffer as a Christian (4:16). Though sufferings begin with Christians, they end in an eternal weight of damnation to the ungodly (4:17-18). Sufferings should be borne by Christians, in patience as in the will of God, realizing that God is always faithful to His own in their sufferings (4:19; 1Cor. 10:13). Christian suffering consist of: Persecution for righteousness (Matt. 5:10; 13:21; Mark 10:30; John 15:20); reviling and slander (4:4; Matt. 5:11-12; 10:25; Acts 13:45); false accusations (Matt. 10:17-20); rejection by people (Matt. 10:14); scourging for Christ (Matt. 10:17); hatred by the world (Matt. 10:22; John 15:18-21); hatred by relatives (Matt. 10:21-36); martyrdoms (Matt. 10:28; Acts 7:58); temptations (Luke 8:13; Jas. 1:2-16); shame for His name (Acts 5:41); imprisonments (Acts 4:3; 5:18; 12:4); tribulations (Acts 14:22; 2Thess. 1:4); stoning (Acts 14:19; 2Cor. 11:25); beatings (Acts 16:23; 2Cor. 11:24-25); being a spectacle to people (1Cor. 4:9); misunderstanding, necessities, defamation, and despising (1Cor. 4:10-13); trouble, affliction, distresses, tumults, labours, watching, fasting, and evil reports (2Cor. 6:8-10; 11:26-28); reproaches (4:14; Heb. 13:13); trials (1:7; 4:12); satanic opposition (Eph. 4:27; 6:12); groaning and travailing because of the curse (Rom. 8:17-26).