1 Peter 4

 

No Christian can say: “I have no gift.” Every Christian has received at least one gift from God, and along with it, the grace and strength to use it. If we do not use the gifts we have been given in God’s service, He will punish us for it (see Matthew 25:14-30).

11 Here Peter mentions the two main kinds of Christian ministry: first, the ministry of the word—speaking the very words of God; and second, the ministry of service (see Acts 6:2-4). The first ministry is carried out mainly by pastors, elders, and evangelists.10 Those who teach and preach the word of God must do so as if God Himself were speaking. They must act as God’s spokesmen.

All Christians can take part in the second ministry, the ministry of serving and helping others. God will provide the means and strength—everything that is needed—for carrying out this ministry. If money is needed, God will provide it. But we can’t just wait around and expect God to do everything. We must use all ofour abilities, our strength, our time, and our wealth in God’s service. When we do this, we will bring glory to God. All our labors and efforts in this world have but one ultimate purpose, and that purpose is to glorify God.

12 Some of the believers to whom Peter wrote this letter were suffering various kinds of trouble and persecution. Perhaps they were surprised and shocked and disillusioned by the troubles that had come upon them. They had thought that after believing in Christ they would receive blessing, joy, and prosperity. But instead of these good things, they had received trouble from their friends and persecution from the Romans. Some of them may have thought: “We have been betrayed.”

But Peter reminds his readers that just as gold is refined by fire, so their faith is being refined by the “fiery” or painful trial that has come upon them (see Mark 4:5-6,1617; 1 Peter 1:6-7).

13 But rejoice11 that you participate in the sufferings of Christ. For Christ, suffering was the road to glory; and it is the same for us. If we suffer for Christ now, we will share in His glory later (Matthew 5:10-12; Romans 8:17). When Christ comes to earth again, we will all the more rejoice with Him (Romans 8:18; 2 Thes-salonians 1:4-5). Therefore, during times of suffering, let us turn our thoughts to the glory and the joy of Christ, in which we shall one day share—if we stand firm. Paul wrote: … we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us (Romans 5:2-5). … if we endure, we will also reign with him (2 Timothy 2:12).

14 Anyone who faithfully follows Christ will from time to time be insulted because of the name of Christ (Psalm 69:7-9; 89:50-51; Matthew 10:22; John 15:1821). To bear reproach and abuse for Christ’s sake is not a disgrace but an honor and privilege(seeMatthew5:11; Acts5:41; Hebrews 11:26; 13:13; 1 Peter 4:16). If we bear Christ’s reproach, His Spirit—the Spirit of glory—and God Himself will come to us and remain with us (see John 14:23).

15 If we suffer for doing wrong, however, we bring no honor to Christ or to ourselves. There is no joy in suffering punishment we deserve. Therefore, let us make sure that any trouble we suffer is for Christ’s sake— that is, for doing good. Only in this way will we glorify God (see 1 Peter 2:19-20; 3:17 and comments).

16 In Peter’s time, the name Christian was despised by almost everyone. Many Christians were poor; some were slaves or servants. Some had been former Jews. Therefore, the Romans despised the Christians. To be called a “Christian” was a shameful thing. However, Peter says here, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed. Rather, praise God that you bear that name, because that is the name of the King of kings and Lord of lords (see verse 14 and comment).

17 God’s judgment against sin begins with the family of God—that is, with believers. God will judge Christians, and He will give a punishment for their sins. The punishment God gives for sin is spiritual death; this is the punishment that Jesus bore in our place (see verse 6 and comment). But think: if God’s judgment against the sins ofbelievers is so great that He gave His only Son to pay the price for those sins, then how much worse will be God’s judgment against the sins of those who do not obey the gospel of God—who do not accept Christ as their Savior.12 The judgment of God against unbelievers will be fearful and terrible (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

18 Here Peter quotes Proverbs 11:31. If the righteous must be judged and their faith tested by fire and painful trials, what will the end of the unrighteous be like! It is better by far to come to Christ and face His judgment against sin in this life, than to wait and face God’s final and terrible judgment in the next life.

19 Therefore, let us not be angry with God or man when suffering comes upon us. Because through such suffering we are being made holy. Through suffering our faith is being tested and strengthened. And through suffering we are being prepared to receive a place in God’s kingdom (Romans 8:17; Hebrews 12:5-7,10). We must commit ourselves, therefore, to God; He is faithful. Paul writes: … he (God) who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). And he also writes: He (God) will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:8-9).

Therefore, let us commit ourselves to God, the righteous Judge (see 1 Peter 2:23). On the cross, Jesus’ last words were: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Peter heard Jesus speak those words. He surely remembered them as he wrote this verse.

California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information  California - CCPA Notice