Sunday, July 21, 2013

1st Peter 2 - Called for suffering

"For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth." (1 Peter 2:21-22)
No one likes to think of suffering, but Peter says that we were called for this very purpose, but not for the purpose of suffering, but for the suffering that comes from doing what is right. Paul promises us that, "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (2 Tim 3:12). It's not that we seek suffering, or even desire suffering, but we gladly face the suffering that is ours from doing rightly. When we do what's right and suffer for it, we rejoice and gladly accept it, for we are sharing in the sufferings of Christ.
"and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;" (1 Peter 2:23)
Here is the key to bearing up under unjust sufferings: our focus should not be towards those who are causing our sufferings but rather towards God who is able to give us strength in our sufferings and to deliver us and vindicate us by His judgment. Jesus is the ultimate model of one who suffered unjustly, even to the point of death. He did no evil and no sin was found in Him, yet He was judged and crucified as a common criminal. However, thoughout all of this He entrusted Himself to God in doing what was right. So should our attitude be, that no matter what we face in this world, and Jesus did promise, "In the world you will have tribulation." (John 16:33 NKJV), we should set our face towards God and continue in doing good, no matter what the personal cost. Speaking of the righteous, David said, "He swears to his own hurt and does not change." (Psalm 15:4)
"and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls." (1 Peter 2:24-25)
Finally, Peter reminds us of that good that Jesus did and its benefit towards us. Jesus suffered for us and we benefited. Jesus suffered not for Himself, but for us; the righteous for the unrighteous. Even when we were His enemies and wandering far from Him, He died to reconcile us. Jesus was not concerned for His own personal comfort nor was He concerned with being right in the eyes of man, rather He was motivated by something greater. "who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2) Certainly, part of that joy was the glory He now shares with His Father, but Peter also intimates that part of that joy was in seeing our own healing, righteousness, and reconciliation to the Father. The joy set before Jesus was not only those things that He stood to receive from His Father, but also the joy in knowing that, along with Himself, He would bring many along who would also share those same gratifications with Him in the presence of His God. "For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren." (Hebrews 2:10-11)

David Robison

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