Giving God Glory in Suffering – I Peter 4:16

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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As a teenager, my girlfriend, her parents, and I trusted Christ within days of one another. In short order, we began attending a Bible-teaching church fifty miles away. My childhood church background had been in a liberal, modernistic denomination where attendees never heard a true gospel. When my former pastor learned that I was attending a church out of town with my girlfriend’s parents, he went to their place of work, railed on them, and tried to get them fired. These were difficult times for them, but they trusted Christ, and kept attending the new church where they were growing.

When Peter wrote his first epistle to Kingdom saints, they too were enduring persecution for their growing faith. Peter encouraged them with these words: “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evil-doer, or as a busybody…Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (I Peter 4:15-16). The saints to whom Peter was writing had been “scattered abroad,” throughout the known world, by persecution over their faith in the Lord Jesus as their promised Messiah (James 1:1). Unbelieving Jews, like Saul before he became the Apostle Paul, pursued them wherever they went, seeking to imprison and torture them until they renounced their faith in Christ. If they would not recant Christ, many were murdered. It was in this context that Peter instructed these saints about suffering. They were to be careful to never engage in sinful activities that would bring negative consequences. If they suffered for the sake of Christ, they were to not “be ashamed,” or shrink from their stand for our Lord. Instead, they were to respond with verbal praise, sing praises, and remain steadfast, therein bringing glory to God. Peter himself had done so when beaten and commanded to no longer speak in Christ’s name. He responded with “…rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). Likewise, Paul and Silas “…prayed, and sang praises” (Acts 16:25). Responding with angry words or threats would not glorify Christ, but demonstrating godliness would do so and enhance their testimony.

In every dispensation “…all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12). Be bold in sharing Christ in a wise and godly way. When persecution comes, respond in a way that will “glorify God” (I Peter 4:16).

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."