If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
In today’s reading of 1 Peter we see that we should not rejoice in the suffering that comes from our sin. That suffering is something we deserve because we acted out of disobedience. However, if we suffer because of our faith, because we are doing something to glorify God then we should feel no shame for doing that. We are glorifying God and that is something we should never be ashamed of doing. No matter what the culture says we have to remain faithful to his Word.
He then goes on to remind his readers that our suffering is going to happen here on earth. When we die there will be no more suffering. Our suffering is temporary and is nothing compared to those who do not follow God. When they die, they will spend their eternity suffering. They are finding all their joy here in temporal things. Followers of Christ can enjoy things on earth as well, but our real treasure is in eternity. For that reason, we will experience suffering now, but it is worth for what is waiting on the other side.
This passage ends with a strong challenge that we must commit our souls to God because he is faithful when we do good things. He is the gracious Creator who gave us life. I like how Peter wrote, “continue to do good”. He already knows his readers are doing good things and wants them to keep it going. We must continue to do good no matter what happens in our lives. People may look down on us and they may call us names. Some of us may lose jobs or friends. There are even a few of us who may lose our lives for the gospel. If you are suffering for God’s will then there is no fear. God will make good on his promises.
In your prayers today take time to thank God that there is no suffering in eternity. He has given us the strength to get through this life and when we will be in his presence we will never again experience suffering. It is something we all long for. Commit your soul to doing his will and continue to do good in your life this week.