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  Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #19
Posted: February 9, 2007

I PETER 4:12

We began Chapter 4 last week in our study of I Peter. We have taken the theme of “The God Of All Suffering”.  We looked last week at verses 1-11 and “The Convicting Restoration”.

In the rest of the chapter we are confronted with two key words. One of the words is our theme word of ‘suffering’.  It appears six times.  It is mentioned twice in verse 1 and then in verses 13, 15, 16, and 19.  The other key word is the word ‘glory’.  It is mentioned four times. It is in verse 11,13,14, and 16.  The word ‘glory’ has three basic meanings.  It is the weighty presence of God, to eulogize, lift up in adoration and to bear the image or likeness of another.  We find in this chapter “The Height Of Suffering” which is to bear the likeness of the image of Christ.

For us to suffer for His glory we see first of all in verses 12-13, “The Contrasting Responses”.  In verse 12 a wrong response is to see suffering as a stranger or foreigner when it comes.  Job said, ‘Man that is born or a woman is only here a few days and they will be full of trouble’.  A proper response is found in verse 13, which is to ‘rejoice’.  We are not to rejoice in the trouble but in what it produces.  We are made to be partakers of Christ’ sufferings that we might have His glory revealed.  Through suffering our earthly image will be removed that we might bear the eternal image of Christ.

We see in verses 14-15 “The Conforming Reason” for our suffering.  I notice in verse 14 there is a “Hallowed Reason”.  The word ‘if’ is not a word of a hypothetical but a statement of fact.  We will be reproached for His namesake.  The word ‘reproach’ means outrageous insults or to be grossly rude to.  We must realize these insults are aimed at Him and not us.  If our response to these is to maintain a happy countenance His spirit of glorious likeness will rest upon us.  In verse 15 we see a “Harmful Reason”.  Let us be careful not to have self-inflicted suffering.  The word here of ‘murder’ indicates a bitterness of hatred toward another.  The busybody is a self appointed overseer in other peoples matters.  This suffering will not produce His likeness but only more of the likeness of self.

In verses 17-18 we see “The Commanding Righteousness Through Suffering”.  Peter tells us judgment needs to begin at the house of God.  The ‘judgment’ mentioned here is the refining judgment of removing dross from gold.  This judgment will produce in our practice the righteousness we possess in our position.

In verse 19 we see “The Comforting Response In Our Suffering”.  There is great peace when we commit every situation of life to our faithful creator.  Let us remember every situation we go through has been designed for us by the will of God.  If we cannot see His hand we can trust His heart to produce His likeness in us.            

Let us join in our lives with the songwriter who sings of the ‘Height Of Suffering’ when he says,  

O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee, Blessed redeemer pure as Thou art. Come in Thy sweetness, Come in Thy fullness, Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart!