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Examine Scripture

1 Peter 4:15-16

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Just Suffering…

There are two types of suffering, just and unjust:

“But let no one among you be made to suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer. But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name.”  -1 Peter 4:15-16, NAB

Today’s verse discusses two basic types of suffering – just and unjust.  It is Peter’s wish that we should not suffer for unjust reasons, but only just ones.  He does not want anyone to suffer as a murderer, thief, evildoer or intriguer, especially if they are not any of those things.  However, he sees the glory that comes from suffering for Christ.

We have heard this before.  Both Paul and Peter seem to repeat the messages that they find most important.  Yet, when we hear verses like this, we often think to ourselves, “easier said than done,” or “easy for you to say.”  Well, Peter did suffer for Christ, and he knows first-hand what it means to glorify God through suffering.

When we think of suffering for our faith, especially in Western cultures, we think of how we may face criticism or ridicule for our faith.  When was the last time you faced imprisonment or death for being a Christian?  Peter, Paul, and the rest of the early Christians know this too well.  Despite the punishment they faced, these men did not waiver in their faith, and by their faith, they have glorified God.

The early Christians were not the only ones to suffer for being a Christian.  Even today, there are those who are persecuted for their faith, and it is a growing problem.  I have actually heard that the twentieth century had more Christian martyrs than all of the previous centuries combined.  This tells us that there are still plenty of Christians willing to glorify God through the ultimate sacrifice.

I pray that you never have to be a martyr, but if you do, it is one of the greatest honors you can ever be blessed with.  The early Christians, the Church fathers, were willing to die for their faith in Jesus Christ.  Are you willing?

Lord, may you welcome the martyrs who have given their life in Your Name with loving arms, and may Your grace extend to those who are being persecuted for their faith, even today, all over the world.  Amen.

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