“Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:16-18
Suffering is not something we like to talk about. It’s not popular, not a fun topic on a Sunday morning. But suffering is key to our relationship with Jesus.
Peter tells us it is “better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” What does this mean? If it is God’s will? Does this suggest some suffering is not the will of the Lord? I can imagine some tragic events that could happen that would not be the will of the Lord. Painful events that God will use but that he did not intend. This means that not all suffering it’s from the Lord.
But Christ suffered for us. He was the righteous one who suffered for the unrighteousness. And why did Jesus do this? Peter writes, “To bring us to God.” He died in the body, v.18 says, but was “made alive in the Spirit.”
Christ Jesus traded his life for ours. He gave up his life of flesh to death in exchange for a life in the Spirit. He suffered and died so we might be made righteous and be brought close to God. Which means, we can’t get close to God on our own. We must have Jesus and we must have his sacrifice to make it happen. This sacrifice was made available to all people although not everyone accepts the gift of God.
Jesus suffered and by his suffering he sacrificed his life for our salvation. How we respond to this offering is up to us. If we receive it, obey it, believe it, then we will draw close to the Lord. This is so important! The question for each of us is this — do we want to be near God? If so, accept the path of Jesus.
I see too many Christians who don’t practice, don’t seek, don’t read his Word. They live in a society where Christianity has had so much freedom that it’s taken for granted. Let us urge one another on to seeking the Lord. To drawing near to God, to finding freedom in the sacrifice of Jesus so we might be the bride of Christ that he intended.
“O Lord God, you are good. I am a sinner saved by grace. Pour out your Holy Spirit upon me. Allow me to find strength in your name and power in your suffering. I thank you God for loving me and for redeeming me from the pit of hell. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and love. Help me be the person you created that I might walk in step with you. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen