“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 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.” 1 Peter 4:12-14
St. Peter returns here to what he had often touched upon in this epistle, namely, to exhort the Christians to behave with patience and integrity under their present severe persecution; to which purpose he uses the following arguments: –
First, He intimates that it was not a strange or unusual thing for the people of God to be persecuted.
Secondly, That if they suffered here as Christ did, they should hereafter be glorified with him.
Thirdly, Besides the prospect of that future glory; they had at present the Spirit of God for their support and comfort.
Excerpted from “The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” a commentary by Adam Clarke 1831
Words of Grace for Strength!
In the USA, the attitude for most who claim to be Christian, is to look on suffering and persecution as strange and abnormal. It seems to come as a surprise when we face adversity of any kind. But the Apostle Peter writes that we should consider it normal as a Christian. Why should we be treated better by the world than was our Savior? The Apostle Paul warned Timothy “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 So, Christians should expect persecution, especially those who are making an active stand for Christ in these Last Days. Satan is not concerned with those who are on the sidelines of Christianity or those who only give lip service to faith, his attacks are reserved for those who are actively opposing him, those who are not only watchmen on the wall but who are soldiers of the cross, fighting him and his demonic agenda.
Peter writes that in suffering for Christ we will be glorified with Him. That should be the goal of every believer, to rejoice in the suffering because of the honor it will bring. When as Christians we are ridiculed, denounced and reproached for what we believe, when our convictions are rejected, we should rejoice in the privilege of sharing what Christ suffered as a Man. We may even receive physical wounds and scars for our commitment to Him, but even so, how much greater the rejoicing when we see Him and receive from Him our reward for having suffered in His name. We need to understand how absolutely satisfying our lives can be, how exciting it can be to live, how rewarding eternity will be, when we are sold out to Jesus Christ and are willing to endure anything to bring honor and glory to Him.
The evidence in a Christian’s life of true obedience to Christ is not wealth, health, or living “your best life now” but is in fact of facing persecution and suffering. This is the true sign that the Glory of God rests upon a Christian, because it is evidence of being in the fight. While we know every Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, He empowers in an extraordinary way those who are completely devoted to the cause of Christ. These are those the Holy Spirit is enabling to make a difference in a lost and dying world, and they experience His presence and power in a way that others do not. They, like the early believers are able to rejoice that they are “counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” Acts 5:41
And yet, while the Christian can and should rejoice in personal suffering faced as evidence of God’s glory upon a life well lived for the Lord, it is not outside of personal obedience to pray for relief from suffering which other Christians experience. A true Christian soldier will neither run from the fight the Lord has placed before them nor avoid supporting other Christians in battle. After all, living in the True Church, His Remnant Church, requires us to look after and fight for each other as well.
As we are living in these Last Days, as suffering and persecution is beginning to be to be in evidence in His Remnant Church in America, as well as the rest of the world, it is time for those who are in Christ to “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13
The Rapture is Imminent! The Tribulation will follow! And;
Jesus is Coming Soon!