Reading the Word
1 Peter 4:12–19 (ESV)
12 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. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Understanding the Word
Peter tells his readers not to think of “fiery trials” as a strange thing for Christians. Think of them as normal. After all, that is what Jesus Christ endured. Why should his followers be any different?
Christians have been saved from God’s coming wrath and judgment. Therefore, we can endure the trials we face now without shame and while continuing to do good.
Applying the Word
Mistakenly, many believe that when a person becomes a Christian, it removes all hardship from their lives. They believe the Bible teaches that God blesses with health, wealth, and prosperity if the Christian will just have enough faith and live in the right way.
The Bible does not teach a prosperity gospel. It teaches us that Jesus Christ suffered in this world as the righteous servant of God and that his followers will face similar suffering. Instead of seeking our own prosperity and comfort, we should seek the honor and glory of the one who has saved us for eternal joy in His presence.
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