(Vs. 12) Beloved believers, do not be amazed and bewildered by difficult trials and afflictions which come upon you. Afflictions, trials, and sufferings are the common lot of God's people in all ages. God has only one Son without sin--NONE WITHOUT SUFFERING! For even Christ our Lord suffered hatred, reproach, and contradiction (John 16:1-3, 33). Trials in the life of a believer are NOT BY CHANCE but are by appointment and according to the will of God (Phil. 1:29). Trials and afflictions try the graces of believers.
1. They try our FAITH, which becomes more precious through trial.
2. They try our LOVE FOR CHRIST, which cannot be dimmed or drowned in the floods of suffering.
3. They try our HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE, weaning us from fleshly foundations.
4. They try our PROFESSION OF RELIGION, revealing whether it is in Christ's person or in the loaves and fishes He provides (John 2:23-25).
Trials are not strange and unusual for the true believer, but they are the common lot of all who will live Godly in Christ Jesus (II Tim. 3:12).
(Vs. 13) Rejoice and glory in trials and afflictions brought upon you by the will of God and for the sake of the gospel of Christ (II Cor. 12:9-10).
1. Rejoice that the hand of God is upon you in mercy, making you like Christ, creating saving graces in you, and counting you worthy to suffer for His glory.
2. Rejoice that you are blessed to share the sufferings of Christ, being identified with Him in a world that rejects and hates Him (John 15:18-20).
3. Rejoice that when His full glory is revealed at the last day, you that have been identified with Him, suffered with Him, and confessed Him, will be glorified with Him (II Tim. 2:12; Matt. 10:32-33).
(Vs. 14) When religionists and others speak evil of you and persecute you for your faith in Christ Jesus and your belief in His gospel of sovereign grace, do not be downcast and blue. BE HAPPY! You are to be envied, for you are truly blessed of God; the Spirit of God rests upon you. They are blaspheming the name, work, and Lordship of Christ; but you are glorifying Him by your faith, your loyalty, and your willingness to praise Him in a wicked and evil generation (Matt. 5:10-12).
(Vs. 15) Let none of you suffer as a MURDERER--who hates others, destroys character and reputation by gossip and slander, or who wishes misfortune on others. Let none of you suffer as a THIEFwho robs men of the love you owe them and the gospel message you are sent to share. Let none of you suffer as an EVILDOERwho breaks either the laws of God or the laws of men. Let none of you suffer as a MEDDLER or a busybodywho takes upon himself to manage, direct, or command the affairs and lives of others.
(Vs. 16) If you are privileged to suffer for being a true believer in Christ, for loving His Word, His gospel, and His grace, and for declaring the gospel of substitution, do not be ashamed; but give glory to God that you are counted worthy to suffer in His name and for His glory.
(Vs. 17) "The house of God" is the household of God or the true sons of God. The time has arrived when God will judge His people, not for their sins (there is no judgment or condemnation in Christ); but by trial, affliction, and suffering He will try and prove their faith, love, and trust. They will be proven beyond doubt to be His own, as He proved the faith and love of Abraham by severe trial. If God is pleased to put His children through the furnace of affliction to prove their faith, what shall be the fate of those who bear His INFINITE WRATH? (Psalm 37:38; Psalm 73:17-18.)
(Vs. 18) If the believer is saved with difficulty because of the holiness of God's law and the strictness of His righteous justice (which required the perfect obedience and infinite suffering of His only begotten Son), what shall become of the ungodly and the unbeliever? Since "God spared not His own Son" (Rom. 8:32), will He spare the ungodly?
(Vs. 19) Therefore, let us who are predestined by the sovereign will and wisdom of our God to suffer and endure trials for His glory commit our souls to Him Who created us for His glory and Who will never leave us nor forsake us!