“Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”
1 Peter 4:19
The final attitude we should have in facing trials and sufferings is that of entrusting ourselves to God.
Geoffrey Bull epitomizes the modern–day believer who entrusts his entire soul to God’s will in the middle of terrible suffering. Bull was punished with solitary confinement, brainwashing, many kinds of intimidation, and starvation during more than three years of imprisonment by the Communist Chinese forty years ago. During his affliction he prayed that God would help him remember Scriptures, realize His peace, and triumph over doubt, fear, loneliness, and fatigue. The final two lines of a poem he wrote summarize Bull’s complete trust in God’s plan and purpose:
And Thy kingdom, Gracious God,
Shall never pass away.
The term “entrust” is a banker’s expression meaning “to deposit for safekeeping.” Peter encourages all believers who experience trials and tribulations to give over their very lives (“souls”) to God’s care. The Lord is indeed “a faithful Creator” who made us. Therefore we can and should trust Him fully as the only one who is able to care for all our needs.
By this point Peter has assumed that his original readers, since many had endured persecution, knew what suffering was like. Therefore, he could also present the Lord as a sovereign God who could be trusted to do “what is right.” Because it is God’s will to allow sufferings and trials in the lives of all believers, it is only logical that Peter exhort us to entrust ourselves to Him during such times.
Peter’s instruction is also related to Romans 12:1, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual [or rational] service of worship.” Paul reminds us that it is much easier to react as we should to trials if we have already resolved, with God’s help, to entrust everything to Him. Then we can face with calm and confidence, rather than worry and fear, whatever God allows.
Suggestions for Prayer: Review your commitment to God, and ask Him to bring to mind anything that you need to entrust wholly to Him; then by faith take that step.
For Further Study: Psalm 25 describes David’s desire to trust in God. Read it and pick out several verses or a paragraph to meditate on.
Entrust Suffering to God
Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. (4:19)
Therefore draws the reader into the obvious duty he has in his suffering. Those who suffer according to the will of God receive this encouragement concerning the difficulty of their righteous pain—it is the will of God (cf. 3:7; 5:10). Knowing that fact, believers rest their souls in God’s care and purpose. Entrust (paratithemi) is a banker’s term referring to a deposit for safe keeping. One would be properly concerned about the character and ability of the person given such a trust. Jesus used the same word on the cross when He committed His spirit to His Father (Luke 23:46; cf. the discussion of 2:23 in chapter 15 of this volume). Believers are encouraged further to recall that the One to whom they give their souls is the faithful Creator. Only here in the New Testament is God called Creator. That is because it was generally understood that the Author of everything, the Designer of all that is, the One who sustains not only His material creation but achieves His purpose for it all, will bring to pass what He wills—only He is completely able and trustworthy in doing what is right. Who could be better than the trustworthy Creator who always acts righteously? Because God is faithful in Himself and to His own promises, believers’ souls are at rest in His power and purpose (cf. 1:3–5; John 10:27–30; 17:11–12, 15; Rom. 8:35–39; Eph. 1:13–14; Phil. 1:6; 1 Thess. 5:23–24; 2 Tim. 1:12; Jude 24–25).
The psalmist David walked the road that took him from anguish over his persecutors to assurance in his faithful Creator. Psalm 31 is a rich example of a believer entrusting himself to God:
In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be ashamed; in Your righteousness deliver me. Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly; be to me a rock of strength, a stronghold to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress; for Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me. You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, for You are my strength. Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth. I hate those who regard vain idols, but I trust in the Lord. I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness, because You have seen my affliction; You have known the troubles of my soul, and You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a large place. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow and my years with sighing; my strength has failed because of my iniquity, and my body has wasted away. Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel. For I have heard the slander of many, terror is on every side; while they took counsel together against me, they schemed to take away my life. But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me. Make Your face to shine upon Your servant; save me in Your lovingkindness. Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I call upon You; let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in Sheol. Let the lying lips be mute, which speak arrogantly against the righteous with pride and contempt. How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men! You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the Lord, for He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city. As for me, I said in my alarm, “I am cut off from before Your eyes”; nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried to You. O love the Lord, all you His godly ones! The Lord preserves the faithful and fully recompenses the proud doer. Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord.
- So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
Peter writes his epistle not to unbelievers but to God’s people and especially those who experience suffering and hardship. The words so then introduce the conclusion to Peter’s lengthy discussion on suffering. In other parts of the epistle (2:15; 3:17; 4:2), Peter exhorts Christians to remember that nothing happens without God’s will, for God is in control of every situation. In particular the sufferers grapple with the question of injustice to which they have to submit. They ought not to lose sight of God’s purpose in their lives, for in his providence he will care for them. Therefore, Peter gives these sufferers an extra word of consolation.
Peter tells his readers to fulfill two obligations. The first one is that they
- “Should commit themselves to their faithful Creator.” The verb commit appears in the last saying Jesus uttered from the cross: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Peter exhorts the suffering believers to commit their lives into the hands of their faithful Creator. He describes God as “Creator,” a term that appears only here in the entire New Testament. He chooses this word to point to God’s creative power. Then he qualifies the word Creator with the adjective faithful. God not only has created man, but also sustains him from moment to moment. To this God the believer can confidently commit himself, for God’s word will never fail him. With that knowledge, the Christian should
- “Continue to do good.” This admonition occurs frequently in this epistle (2:15, 20; 3:6, 11, 17). Peter implies that the Christian who commits himself verbally to his faithful God ought to show this commitment in deeds of love and mercy toward his fellow man.
19 In conclusion, the readers are once more admonished (“So then”) to “commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” Entrusting oneself into divine care has been a crucial subtheme of 1 Peter (2:23; 4:19; 5:7), as has doing good (2:12, 20; 3:13, 17; 4:19). It is fitting that the two should interlock at this point. Moreover, the one to whom the saints commit themselves is “faithful,” able to be trusted by those who “cast all [their] anxiety,” since “he cares for [them]” (5:7). What is more, Peter is quite conscious that the readers’ hardships are not arbitrary; rather, they are part of God’s overall plan, hence his framing of both suffering and doing good in terms of “God’s will” (2:15; 3:17; 4:2, 19)—a conviction that presses to the fore throughout the entire letter.
Mounce, 78–79, summarizes this closing advice well: “Committing oneself to God is not passive submission. It involves active well-doing. While believers will certainly endure hostility of an unbelieving world, there is no place for a martyrdom mentality. Suffer in silence but get on with the job of living an active life of good deeds. Christians should be known for what they do, not for what they suffer. Fixation upon the difficulties of life robs the believer of the opportunity to display his concern for the welfare of others.”
4:19 Peter insists that sufferings must be according to the will of God. Religious zealots may invite suffering by acting impulsively without divine guidance. Those with a martyr complex tempt God in a way that leads to dishonor. But the true pathway of suffering for Christians leads to eternal glory. In view of that, they should continue to do right, no matter what the cost may be, and entrust their souls to the faithful Creator.
It seems somewhat strange that Peter should introduce the Lord as Creator here rather than as Savior, High Priest, or Shepherd. Christ is our Creator in a twofold sense—we are His as part of the original creation and of the new creation (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10). In either case, we are the objects of His love and care. It is only reasonable that we should entrust ourselves to the One who made our souls and who saved them.
 MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 258–260). Chicago: Moody Publishers.
 Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, pp. 182–183). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
 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. 350–351). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2279). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.