The first thing Peter tells us is that we shouldn’t be “surprised” by suffering. Continue reading . . .
The first thing Peter tells us is that we shouldn’t be “surprised” by suffering. Here is how he put it in 1 Peter 4:12-19.
“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. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 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? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (1 Peter 4:12-19).
In other words, if you are going to respond properly to suffering and even learn to grow from it and deepen in your relationship with Christ, you have to develop a solid and Scriptural theology of what suffering is all about. Suffering, says Peter, is normal! It is standard fare for the believer. It is to be expected.
Remember: Peter is writing to a predominantly Gentile audience who would have experienced little if any suffering prior to coming to faith in Christ. Unlike a Jewish believer who knew a lot about suffering and oppression, Gentile Christians would have regarded suffering as a