Rejoicing in christ’s sufferings – Part 2
What a privilege to suffer as a Christian and not as a criminal; to be reproached, insulted and mistreated for the name of Christ and not for being a murderer, or a thief or an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters! If we suffer for the name of Christ, for Christ’s sake, we are happy and blessed.
Those who remain faithful and loyal to God during persecution have special fellowship with the Lord like the three Hebrew children in the furnace of fire. “For the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you”. The Spirit of glory is the Spirit of God, the glorious Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit abides with those who are being persecuted for the cause of Christ; to comfort them, to shed the love of God abroad in their hearts, to give them hope, to give wisdom to answer and relate with their persecutors, to give multiplied grace to endure to the end, to reveal the deep things of God necessary for victory, to assist them in prayer (John 14:26; Romans 5:5; 15:13; Matthew 10:19,20; Luke 21:15; 2 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Romans 8:26,27).
Those who suffer for righteousness’ sake will not be forsaken by God. “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19). There is no danger to the soul that is committed to God, the faithful Creator. So, we must continue to do good during the time of suffering and persecution.
Both Christians and sinners suffer in the world (1 Peter 5:9). It is better to suffer as a Christian than to suffer as a sinner. Murderers, thieves and evildoers suffer the wrath and judgment of God on earth. And if they are unrepentant, will suffer in hell forever. Religious hypocrites who “obey not the gospel of God” will not go unpunished. Being religious does not protect us from the judgment of God Who will not overlook any sin. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:17,18).
Christians who suffer persecution must remain steadfast in righteousness, if they are to escape the judgment to come. Sinners who neglect their salvation stand in danger of eternal punishment.
It is not enough to belong to a church or be part of the house of God. Anyone who hopes to be saved in the end from the judgment to come on the people of the world, must be in Christ and through God’s grace and power, live in holiness. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
Further Reading (King James Version): 1 Peter 4:12-19; 1 Peter 4:12,13; 1 Thessalonians 3:3,4; 2 Timothy 3:12; 2 Corinthians 4:16,17; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 5:10; Romans 8:17,18; 1 Peter 4:14-16,19; 3:14,16; Luke 6:22,23; 2 Corinthians 12:9,10; Hebrews 12:2,3; 2 Timothy 1:12; Psalm 138:8; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Peter 4:15,17,18; 2:20; Ezekiel 9:4-6; Matthew 3:9,10; Malachi 3:5; Luke 12:47,48; Hebrews12:25,26,29; Romans 1:18,32; 2 Peter 3:5-7.