Joy in Suffering
Service of Elders
Submission and Humility
partake, glory, revealed, Christ/Christian, judgment, righteous/ungodly, will
of God, faithful Creator, elders, shepherd, flock, serving, Chief Shepherd,
younger people, submit, humble/humility, “He cares for you,” sober, vigilant,
resist, steadfast in the faith, grace, perfect, establish, strengthen, settle.
If we think that Christians do
not have to suffer, we will be caught by surprise when fiery trials come upon
us. The Bible clearly teaches that Christians will go through trials and must
be ready for them at all times (Mt 16:24-25; Acts 14:22; 1Thess 3:3; 1Pet 5:9)
The Scripture considers
suffering for the name of Christ a participation in Christ’s sufferings (cf.
Rom 8:17; 2Cor 1:5-7; Phil 3:10). The Lord Himself suffered for righteousness’
sake when He was in the world, and His name continues to be hated by the world.
Thus, when the world persecutes or insults us because we are Christians, it is
in fact persecuting and insulting Christ, and we are partakers of His suffering
(Jn 15:18; Acts 9:1-4).
If we remember that we are
partakers of Christ’s sufferings, we will consider suffering for His name an
honor and a privilege (cf. Acts 5:41).
We are blessed because the
Spirit of glory and of God rests upon us. We may suffer in the flesh, but we
have God’s glory in the spirit.
The judgment that begins at the
house of God refers to the sufferings that believers undergo. Unlike the
judgment that will come to sinners and brings condemnation, God’s judgment on
His house comes in the form of fatherly discipline, which results in
righteousness and peace (Heb 12:4-11).
Peter wants the believers to
realize the terrible judgment that will come to those who persecute them now.
Believers in suffering may question why they have to suffer while the ungodly
live in prosperity. But they should know that their temporary sufferings, which is God’s judgment on His house, set them
apart from the world and will spare them from the condemnation in the future.
With this in mind, believers should persevere and commit themselves to God (cf.
The term “faithful Creator”
reminds us of two things about God. First, He is our Creator, and thus He cares
about us. Second, He is a faithful God. In our sufferings, it is a great
assurance to remember that God cares about us and that He will faithfully carry
us through and give us His glory.
To commit our souls to God
means continuing in good deeds (19). In other words, we should wait patiently
for God’s vindication rather than repay evil with evil (cf. 2:23).
Verse 1 speaks of the
sufferings of Christ. As a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who laid down
His life for His sheep, Peter encourages elders to likewise serve God’s flock
with a willing and sacrificial spirit. In verse 4, Peter calls Christ the Chief
Shepherd. Being shepherds of God’s flock, elders are accountable to the Chief
Shepherd, for the believers have been “entrusted” to them (3). Not only so,
they are serving the Chief Shepherd, who will reward them with the crown of
glory when He appears (4).
Shepherds of the flock must be
willing to serve, with no intention of dishonest gain. Instead of exalting
themselves or ruling over others, they must lead the flock by their good
If a person thinks too highly
of himself and considers himself better than others,
he would not be able to submit to others.
Submission to one another is in
essence submission to God because it is God who has placed us in His flock and
commanded us to submit to one another in humility. This is why Peter follows up
the command to submit to one another with the exhortation to humble ourselves
under the mighty hand of God (6).
The assurance is in knowing
that He will exalt us in due time (6). Furthermore, the assurance is in knowing
that while we endure sufferings now, we can cast our care upon God because He
cares for us (7).
When we endeavor to obey God’s
will, we often have to suffer. But we should remind ourselves that submission
to God’s will is an expression of trust in God, who cares deeply about us. Even
though submission may involve suffering, we can rest assured and be patient,
knowing that if we surrender ourselves to His sovereign will, He will take up
our cares and troubles, and will lift us up in due time. With this in mind, our
Christian life and humble service will be a joy rather than a burden.
He is our adversary. Like a
roaring lion, he walks about to seek whom he may devour.
The devil is our spiritual
enemy who takes every opportunity to make us his prey. He does so through
temptations, persecutions, or false teachings.
We need to be sober and
vigilant (8), and we should resist him with steadfast
faith (9). Rather than setting our minds on pleasure and secular commitments,
we must put on the whole armor of God by equipping ourselves daily with
spiritual qualities and discipline (Eph 6:10-18). When we face temptations, we
must not succumb to our environment but fight our evil desires by depending on
the Lord’s power.
He is the God of all grace, who
called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus. God, who has given us all good
things, has predestined us for glory in Christ. If God loves us so much to even
give us His own Son and has called us to His glory, He will surely keep us
during our painful trials (cf. Rom 8:28-39).
He will perfect, establish,
strengthen, and settle us (10). After our temporary trials, God Himself will
make us spiritually complete, not lacking anything (cf
Jas 1:4), and He will also enable us to stand firm in our faith.