“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” 1 Peter 4:16
We Christians know, believe, and have experienced the reality of what our Lord Jesus Christ told us would be true- We will suffer in this life because He suffered (John 15:18). We shouldn’t be shocked that the world hates us (1 John 3:13). Christ teaches us that those who are persecuted and slandered for His sake are blessed (Matthew 5:11-12). Our experience of suffering isn’t new to us. It isn’t pleasant, but it’s something we encounter and endure, by the grace and work of the Holy Spirit, frequently. The Apostle Peter dives deeply into the matter of suffering in his first epistle. He speaks much to, and helps us better understand Christ’s sufferings for us (i.e. 1 Peter 3:18-22), as well as our partaking in Christ’s sufferings (1 Peter 4:13).
In our focus text today, Peter reiterates something important regarding how Christians should suffer well. He speaks to the matter of shame in suffering. How does one incur shame in suffering? On the flip side, how can a Christian suffer unashamed? Peter, in several places of this epistle, points out the contrast between suffering because we have sinned and are reaping the consequences (1 Peter 3:16, 4:15) and suffering for righteousness sake (3:14).
Consider Peter’s words in 3:16-17, “having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” There is shame for those who defame and revile Christians for doing good in Christ. However, shame on us if we are spoken against as evildoers and their claims are true. We must be those who seek daily to live penitently before the Lord and walk in the paths of righteousness as He as called us to do.
If we suffer living rightly before God, Peter says we shouldn’t count it as shame, but as an honor, and glorify God who has dignified us to suffer for Him. Consider and meditate on the following verses and be encouraged this week:
– “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” (3:14)
– “but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.” (4:13-14)
– “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (5:10-11)