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