1 Peter 4:12-14

1 Peter 4:12‑14  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 10
The apostle next turns definitely to suffering of the severest kind which they were called to endure, not as a question of right or wrong, which any upright brother might and does face, but for Christ's name which in a greater degree draws on faith.
“Beloved, be not surprised at (count not strange) the fire among you that cometh for your trial, as though a strange thing were happening to you; but inasmuch as ye share in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, that in the revelation of his glory also ye may rejoice exultingly. If ye are reproached in Christ's name, blessed [are ye], because the [Spirit] of glory and the Spirit of God resteth upon you: [on their part he is blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified]” (vers. 12-14).
Blessed is a man that endureth temptation or trial, and the more fiery it may be, the more blessed he that endures; because when thus proved he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord promised to those that love Him. The danger is of entering into temptation, as even the apostle knew too sadly, when he forgot the Lord's warning in the confidence of his own love, and denied Him thrice. But grace began to restore him, when the Lord re-called to His poor servant His admonitory words, and never stopped till he could be so re-instated before his brethren, as to have His sheep and lambs entrusted to his care. Nor was this all. For the redeeming work of Christ so completely purged him, as it does every worshipper (Heb. 10:22For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. (Hebrews 10:2)), that he could boldly charge the men of Israel with their denying the Holy and Just One. Once for all purified, he had no longer any conscience of sins: that sin and every other were effaced forever. Such is the Christian's initiatory privilege.
Who then was more fitted than this apostle of the circumcision to strengthen the hearts of his brethren at the fire among them coming for their trial? They should not count it strange but an honor from God, especially as they had, what the apostle had not when he was tried, the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, as the fruit of Christ's accomplished work. Had not the Lord said to His disciples, “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from them, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as wicked, for the Son of man's sake”? Had He not bidden them to “rejoice in that day and leap for joy; for, behold, your reward is great in heaven, for according to the same things did their fathers to the prophets”?
The apostle had already exhorted them (in chap. 2:20, 21) to endure as a grace and honor if one for conscience toward God endured griefs, suffering wrongfully. For as he admirably argued, what honor is there, if when sinning and buffeted ye shall endure? But if doing good and suffering ye shall endure, this is grace, or acceptable, with God. There too he points to Christ's suffering for us, as the great model to follow. This he followed up more briefly but with sharp pungency (in chap. 3:17, 18), as better, if God's will should will it, to suffer as doing good rather than doing evil, with the same One before our hearts in His once for all suffering for sins, as He alone could. Here he goes beyond suffering for righteousness and as well-doers; and in accordance with the fiery persecution in view, he reminds them that inasmuch as ye share, or have fellowship in, the sufferings of Christ, it was theirs to rejoice, that in the revelation of His glory also they may rejoice with exultation. The Spirit was afresh applying what the Lord at the beginning laid down on the mount, the surpassing excellence in His eyes (and who such a judge?) of being reviled and persecuted with every wicked thing lyingly said against them for His sake. Blessed they that were persecuted for righteousness' sake, because theirs is the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:1010Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)); but in the next verses 11, 12, He rises higher, and addresses personally, and no longer as before in the abstract, “ye” that suffer for His sake. These were to rejoice and exult, because their reward was great in the heavens.
Here too His servant was given to add, “If ye are reproached in Christ's name, blessed [are ye]; because the [Spirit] of glory and of God resteth upon you. Christ was not here, but in the glory of God; and thence came the Spirit, sent by the Father in His name, and by Himself from the Father to abide with them and be in them (John 14, 15). How fitting and full of comfort the reminder! He was the seal of their accomplished redemption, and the earnest of the glory coming to them. He is the Spirit of God, which is more and better than glory. Such was the Spirit that rested on them, both for energy to endure and for joy now and evermore. No doubt, it is generally true of all the sons of God, for He is the Spirit of sonship, which believers receive since redemption (Gal. 4:44But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (Galatians 4:4), Eph. 1:13, 1413In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13‑14)); but it is here said with emphasis to sustain the sufferers for Christ's name. The latter part of the verse is quite true, and said in substance elsewhere; but omitted as the words are by the best MSS. and most ancient Vv. and looking like a gloss, they are here bracketed as of doubtful authority. There is an addition also to the Spirit of glory and of God, “and of power” in A P, half-a-dozen cursives, some ancient versions, &c., even expanded in to; but the Vatican MS. and other good witnesses oppose; and indeed it seems still less in accord with the context.