Suffering for Doing Right – 1 Peter 3:8-22
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For
“Those who desire life and desire to see good days, let them keep their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking deceit;
11 let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
13 Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14 But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, 15 but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison,20 who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21 And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.
What does the passage say?
V. 8-12 Peter calls the believers to strive for unity. Holiness we cultivate, being bridge builders, is to experience unity in the world. Peter asks the disciples to continue to do good in this world, as the fruit of their holiness. He assures them by reminding them how ‘God’s eyes in on the righteous.’ Since the world, however, is not holy our attempt to bring unity will also bring suffering.
V. 13-22 When suffering occurs, as we do good for the sake of unity, Peter asks, ‘what is the harm?’ The Message says, “Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off.” (v. 13 The Message) The reason we are better off in the midst of suffering is because Jesus went through suffering ‘to bring us God,’ and through his suffering we united with God. Through Jesus we are called righteous in the eyes of God.
What does this mean to me/us
The world despises suffering. Who in the right mind would ask for suffering to come in their life? We as Christians, however, still need to have a different perspective of life. This attitude comes from our hope in the eternal kingdom. When we see Jesus, who went through his suffering on the cross, with the vision of uniting the sinful world with God, we are encouraged to follow his footsteps.
It is easier said than done. It is still one thing we ask that God will not put the suffering in our paths. However, when it comes, may we not give up doing good, because of the pain we experience. For it says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NIV)
What does this MEAN to you?
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