April 19 – Your Two Options

For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

1 Peter 3:17

You have two options. The first is to do right, even if it results in suffering. You then accept suffering as part of God’s wise and sovereign plan for your life.

The second option is to do wrong, which also will result in suffering. Both options are available according to God’s will. God wills that you suffer for doing right so you will receive spiritual strength and glorify God. But He also wills that you suffer divine chastisement for doing wrong. So do good, and avoid bringing suffering on yourself for all the wrong reasons.[1]

3:17 If a Christian must suffer, which might sometimes be God’s will for him, it should be for doing good. But he should not bring suffering on himself for his own misdeeds; there is no virtue in that.[2]

17 But what if the abusers do not have a change of heart? What about unjust suffering? After all, there is no guarantee that the believer’s integrity under trial will “silence” or stop the offender. In such cases, then, “it is better … to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” This advice is precisely the same as that given earlier to slaves who encounter abusive masters (2:20–21). Given the alternatives before the believer in such situations, one can either respond by “doing evil”—and suffer the (just) consequences—or respond by doing good—in which case Peter has already said that the offended, like Christ, is to entrust himself “to him who judges justly” (2:23).[3]

3:15–17 Believers should always be ready to provide a rationale for their faith, but they should do so winsomely and righteously. And if they keep a good conscience, any accusations against them will prove groundless, and their accusers will be put to shame. It is sometimes God’s will that Christians suffer for doing good.[4]

3:17 if that should be God’s will. Unjust suffering is within the providence of God and is for the good of His children and His own glory (1:6, 7; 4:19).[5]

[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 124). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2271). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Charles, D. J. (2006). 1 Peter. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 335–336). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2410). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 2247). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

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