15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. 1 Peter 4:15-19
Peter must be dwelling on suffering as a Christian for a reason. In this potentially troubling passage are some excellent mini-sermons.
First, we might not have murdered anyone or stolen anything, but the chances of our sticking our nose in someone else’s business are pretty strong. Let’s not do that! You’re going to be called out for it, and it won’t be pretty.
Second, suffering for Christ’s sake is a badge of honor, not a matter of shame. You’ve been given a chance to return the glory to our Lord.
Third, we can’t escape the consequences of our sin. If we do wrong, we can expect to have to take our medicine. So how goes it with those outside his family who purposely disobey God? We can at least appeal for his mercy!
Fourth, our salvation required the utmost in pain and suffering to effect. The energy required to move a godless man to salvation is compounded by his sinfulness and rendered impossible by his disbelief. In other words, he’s a sitting duck.
Fifth, when you’re in a jam, how good is it to know that you can entrust your soul to a God who can create something out of nothing? As the old hymn goes, all we need to do is Trust and Obey. There really is no other way under the circumstances.