Friday, 1 November 2019
For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 1 Peter 2:19
Peter is speaking to “servants” as noted in the previous verse. He then told them that they were to reverently submit to their masters, both the good and the harsh. Speaking of submitting to the harsh masters now, he says, “For this is commendable.”
The literal reading is, “For this is grace.” The meaning of this is debated. Some interpret it as being a mark of grace as a Christian, such as, “Look at how he endures under such harsh treatment. Those Christians are gracious indeed.” Others see it as a point which deserves divine favor (grace) for enduring though such things. Others look to it as meaning that it is what is expected of believers (because this is what the word says) and though not deserving of any particular grace, it is pleasing in the sight of God.
The last is surely true. God is pleased with such an attitude. But the first is also true. It is a mark of grace, and such a mark has purpose. It is to reveal the intended character of Christians to the world. In other words, bearing up under harsh treatment is the sphere of grace in which the believer exists. As Peter says it, “For this is grace.”
Imagine him in front of a TV pointing out different types of people. He shows a clip of a servant who fights back at his master – “This is an example of ‘lacking wisdom.’” He shows a clip of a servant who curses his master after his master leaves the room – “This is an example of ‘wickedness.’” He then shows a servant who bears up under the harsh treatment of his master with only courtesy, reverence, and respect – “This is ‘grace.’”
Peter then explains this state by saying, “if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.” The ill-treated servant displays grace, but it isn’t because he doesn’t want to punch the head of his master. It is because he is doing what God expects him to do, even as he endures grief. It is against the natural state of man to bear up under such trials in a contended manner, but he does so out of a greater fear of God, and thus he displays grace even when suffering wrongly.
Peter will give a logical reason for this first, and then he will show that this is exactly what Christ Jesus did. He, the grace of God incarnate, was willing to act in such a manner, and so Peter says that when we do, “This is grace.” It is reflective of Jesus’ words found in Luke 17:6-10. Take time to read that.
Life application: Peter’s words are tough to practice and few people are able to master what they say. Even if we suffer wrongfully, our conscience toward God should tell us to accept what has happened rather than diminish our testimony of Him in our lives.
Being magnanimous in the face of obvious wrong treatment isn’t easy, but Paul says elsewhere –
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Romans 12:20
In today’s unreasoning society, we are often faced with real unfairness. Hard work and dedication are no longer rewarded and are, in fact, condemned. For example, students in school who perform to the best of their abilities are not granted “top of the class” awards because others who failed to perform might feel left out. This is just as unfair as a boss who mistreats you. But a student who is magnanimous in such an instance will be remembered for his attitude.
There are so many instances in our lives where we can show ourselves approved by God, but the difficulty is in actually doing it. Let us ask the Lord for His help –
Heavenly Father, You know how difficult it is for us to overlook mistreatment and unfairness, but if it will bring You glory, then give us the ability to act properly in these instances. May Your divine hand be there to guides us, or we will surely not be able to act in the way You expect. Thank You for being with us in such times. Amen.