Adversity, Trials, and Trouble (1 Peter 4)

The first letter of the Apostle Peter is so encouraging in times of trouble!

    12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
    13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
    14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
    15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.
    16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
    17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
    18 Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
    19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
    ~ 1 Peter 4:12-19

In the first of two letters written by Peter, this disciple of Jesus addresses the subject of trials and suffering. In 8 simple verses, God writes directly to you and I about how we should receive trials in our life, why they come to us, and how we should respond.

    Verse 12-13 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

God is saying “Don’t be shocked. It’s going to happen.” Keep in mind too that it’s not just you or me that is going through that horrible circumstance. There is almost nothing that we go through that is unique to you or I.

    What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
    ~ Ecclesiastes 1:9

David Guzik: “Instead of thinking of trials (even fiery trials) as strange occurrences, we see them as ways to partake of Christ’s sufferings. And if we partake of His sufferings, we will also partake of His glory and joy. Peter once told Jesus to avoid the suffering of the cross.”

    And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.
    And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
    But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
    ~ Mark 8:31-33

“Once it seemed strange to the Apostle Peter that his Master should think of suffering. Now he thinks it strange that He could have imagined anything else.” (Meyer)

    Vs 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.

God tells us in verse 14 that if we are insulted or reprimanded (reproached) because of our faith in Jesus, we are blessed! And while the world abuses the name of God (blasphemes) when the storms of life hit, we are called to praise Him even in the foul weather.

    Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matthew 5:10

    Vs 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.

“Suffering as an evildoer is deserved and brings shame to the name of Jesus. Peter recognizes that not all suffering that Christians experience is suffering in the name of Jesus.”
~ Guzik

We have all seen or heard about a Christian pastor that is popular or famous that has fallen because of his own sin. They get caught in their sin and suffer as a result. Peter warns us against that. Don’t let it happen!

    Vs 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

The suffering of us as Christian believers is sometimes difficult to understand and we ask “why is this happening God?” or “why me?”

There are times when adversity is simply the Lord allowing difficult things in our life to smooth out our rough spots or to prompt us to change. In these times, perhaps He is teaching us patience, or to be more cautious, or to be more loving, or He is prompting us to learn to show kindness or generosity to others. There are many ways God uses adversity to challenge us to do things differently or to turn from sin.

    And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
    And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
    ~ Isaiah 30:20-21

God cares way too much about you and I to leave us the way we are! I’m so thankful for that. I can picture Him standing behind me saying “This is the way, walk in it,” when I “turn to the right” or when I “turn to the left”.

At other times, God will allow adversity so that He can be glorified in us and through us. As difficult as they are, in these trials we must remember to glorify God in all things.

    To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,
    so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

When we are listening to the Holy Spirit by spending time in prayer and daily reading God’s word, He will speak to us. At times it’s very quiet, and it may simply be so that in that awfully difficult moment we choose to praise Him and glorify Him.

    But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
    For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
    ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
    Vs 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Guzik: “Peter tells us that judgment begins at the house of God. God uses suffering as a judgment (in a positive, purifying sense) for Christians (the house of God) now. It is right for judgment to begin at the house of God.”

“There is equity in it; for Christians profess to be better than others, and so they ought to be. They say they are regenerate, so they ought to be regenerate. They say that they are a holy people, separated unto Christ; so they ought to be holy, and separate from sinners, as he was.” (Spurgeon)

Guzik: “Now is our time of fiery trial (1 Peter 4:12); the ungodly will have their fire later. The fire we endure now purifies us; the fire the ungodly will endure will punish them. Yet we always remember that there is never any punishment from God for us in our sufferings, only purification. For the Christian, the issue of punishment was settled once and for all at the cross, where Jesus endured all the punishment the Christian could ever face from God.

The same fire that consumes straw will purify gold. The fire is the same, but its purpose in application is different, and its effect is different upon the straw and the gold. Even so, Christians do suffer some of the same things the ungodly do, yet the purpose of God is different, and the effect is different.”

This “judgment” (the purifying trials) that we go through can be awful! There is no doubt. It’s an incredible comfort knowing that God is using them in our lives to change us from the inside out. Yet for the unbeliever that dies in unbelief, how much worse will it be for them? “What will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

As we glorify God in the midst of our suffering, the non-Christian will see that faith in us. They will recognize our faith as something that is supernatural. When we share our faith in Jesus with them, what a powerful testimony that is!

    Vs 18 Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

My Bible footnotes say: “Scarcely saved does not mean that the righteous just barely receive salvation. “Scarcely” (Greek molis, “with difficulty”) means that the righteous are saved in the midst of suffering; their salvation is not easy and simple”.

And again Peter says in essence “if it’s that hard for the Christian, how much worse will it be for the non-Christian?”

    Vs 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Verse 19 really sums up the message of 1 Peter. Even in our suffering, we are called to love God and hold fast to faith. That can be so tough!

    Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
    ~ 1 Peter 2:23-24

This verse is talking about Jesus who suffered pain beyond our imagination, but still committed Himself to God the Father. He did that so “that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness”. He died so that we could live for Him!

I pray that I will forever and in all circumstances “entrust my soul to a faithful Creator while doing good”.

If you’ve not yet believed in Jesus as your Savior, let me tell you how simple it is. All you need to do is to admit that you and I each do wrong things (sin), and that Jesus died for your sin and for mine to take away that punishment, and that God raised Him from the dead so that we’ll live forever with Him.

    But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
    For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. ~ Romans 10:8-10

No one is too far gone down the path of sin. No one! Take a look for yourself and see what the Bible says:

    Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
    ~ Isaiah 1:18

    Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?
    ~ Jeremiah 32:37

    For nothing is impossible with God.
    ~ Luke 1:37

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    ~ 1 John 1:9

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
    ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

All is takes is for you to believe it and say it with your mouth. Feel free to message me below if you’ve done that and you don’t know what the next step is.

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