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Suffering for Good

Under the rule of Christ, we operate on different principles than those of the world.

“But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.” (1 Peter 2:20, NKJV) 

In verse 16 Peter urges to live as ones who are free, yet in the same breath he tells us to live as servants of God. This is pointed reminder to us that to be free from bondage to sin is not to be autonomous. Rather, we are liberated to love. We are delivered from the kingdom of this world and translated to Kingdom of Christ, whom we love and serve. His lordship governs every aspect of our lives. 

Now in verse 18 Peter addresses servants. Here he speaks to those who have the job of a domestic servant in a household, who as servants of God are to serve their masters well. It is an application of honoring those in authority (v. 17), and not only those who rule honorably but even those who are inconsiderate and unkind. “We are to show respect not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh” (1 Pet. 2:18). In other words, we serve well for the sake of Christ, whom we ultimately serve. 

Under the rule of Christ, we operate on different principles than those of the world. We are mindful that we do our work not primarily for men but for the Lord. We do not treat people as they deserve but by grace. We are willing to suffer wrong and injustice. 

What Peter is highlighting is endurance in suffering. We are to persevere in patience, waiting on the Lord, entrusting ourselves to His care and providence. 

This is counterintuitive in our rights-oriented society, particularly nowadays when any sort of suffering or inconvenience or injustice warrants formal grievance or legal action. But Christ’s Kingdom is counter-cultural. We are to love our enemies and bless those who mistreat us, knowing that our reward transcends a paycheck or promotion, but is administered by our Father in heaven. 

Peter assigns us our responsibility. We are to live honorably, overcoming evil with good, whether that good is deserved or not. 

REFLECTION: We are to live our lives for what is commendable in the sight of God.   

Unless noted otherwise, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and ten grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale

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