- One common manifestation of pride is comparing ourselves to others. We are never content with who we are, what we have, where we live. There is always someone in front of us who has it better than us.
Rod Stewart Some guys have all the luck. Some guys have all the pain. Some guys get all the breaks. Some guys do nothing but complain. Woo woo woo…
- However, a fair comparison, takes eternity into account. In that light: No one has it better than us!
- Peter just told them not to be ashamed of their Christianity (16). Now he warns some while inspiring others.
Read 1 Peter 4:17-19
- The principles of suffering apply to any experience that tests your faith.
- Continue to act like a Christian, especially when you are suffering as a Christian because…
- No One Has It Better Than You (17-18)
- It Only Gets Better From Here (19)
No One Has It Better Than You (17-18)
- Household = House > Temple.
- Malachi 3:1-5 God’s people will make acceptable offering after being refined by fire. Then God judges the unrepentant (5).
- The same event – God coming to his temple – will purify and condemn.
- God is already among his people/temple (2:5, 9). Rejoice (4:13)! Glorify God (4:16)! Know that your suffering will end.
- “Now is the time! This is the place! We are the people!” Do you see how he is motivating them to face their suffering with confidence?
- Proverbs 11:31 Temporal judgment in view (“on earth”). LXX replaces “repaid” with “saved”, but the basic argument remains the same.
- In the end, the righteous will have it better than the ungodly.
- Our God renders judgment. No one is spared suffering.
- Believers are encouraged to suffer well. “Don’t give in now – when your faithful suffering provides the loudest testimony!” God refines his people through temporary suffering so that their experience of his glory might be all the more joyful – for all eternity!
- Imposters among them were reminded that a greater judgment awaits. If temporary suffering is required for believers to joyfully embrace God’s glory for eternity, then the rejection of that glory results in the embrace of eternal suffering.
- Everyone suffers in this life, but it ends for those with whom it began.
- This fiery judgment is already being experienced through your present suffering. Your faith is being tested and purified. Can you trust beyond your circumstances that God is making you fit for eternity?
- Your present suffering is refining you for your experience of eternity.
- Peter acknowledges the genuine struggle of suffering. He isn’t being flippant about his reader’s circumstance.
- But he is encouraging perseverance. The suffering they face is inevitable in light of living a counter-cultural lifestyle, but it is also proving them to be sheep that will not receive the judgment of goats in the end.
It’s true: No one has it better than you. And it’s equally true that…
It Only Gets Better From Here (19)
- None of this matters if God is not sovereign over our suffering and if he is not our faithful Creator. God created us, therefore he knows what is best for us.
- Summary of vv.12-18 > entire letter.
- “Entrust” = “Commit” (Luke 23:46; 1 Peter 2:21-23). We follow Jesus’ example who entrusted his spirit to his Father, obeying to the point of death.
- Peter reminds us how God cares for his creation. If God cares for the birds, surely he cares for you.
- Continue “doing good” (2:12, 15, 20; 3:13, 16-17). It reveals who we are trusting and whether we are persevering.
- We need to remember that it only gets better from here.
- That doesn’t mean he promises peace and prosperity in this life. In fact, suffering may increase. You may not have seen the worst of your refining. But, as you continue entrusting yourself to God – you will eventually make it all the way home.
- Paul agrees in Romans 8:16-18.
- Therefore, if it’s true that this present life is as bad as it is ever going to get for us, let us suffer well – trusting the Creator who made us for so much more than this!
- Believers need to maintain an eternal perspective if they are going to suffer well, making godly choices.
- You will never suffer outside of God’s sovereign will. Assuring the believer that suffering aligns with God’s will is not minimizing the pain of human suffering.
- We should take great comfort, committing ourselves to God, walking in obedience.
- We press on, doing what is right and good, trusting God to sort everything out.
- If God is sovereign over our suffering, then we can be confident it will end. Christian suffering is not forever.
- We also know the extent of our suffering has a limit. We will not suffer to the point of apostasy if we are trusting God.
- In fact, our suffering will ultimately work out for our good.
It only gets better from here!
- It may seem unreasonable to continue doing good when that is the very cause of your suffering.
Jobes The Christian is called to enduring commitment of Christ’s gospel amid suffering caused by that very commitment.
- Peter encourages his readers to continue doing good in the face of suffering knowing that your soul is being prepared for an eternal inheritance that God, your Creator, is faithfully guarding (1:4) until you receive it.
- Our persevering is not passive, but it involves rejoicing and “doing good” in light of eternity. Continue to act like a Christian, especially when you are suffering as a Christian