Friday, 13 December 2019
If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 1 Peter 4:14
Peter continues with the same general idea as he has written about for the past two verses. He mentioned the fiery trial of believers, and of partaking in Christ’s sufferings. These things are to be expected and actually are to be a point of honor for those who face them. As he now begins to say, “If you are reproached for the name of Christ.”
The Greek reads, “in the name of Christ.” In other words, this is not speaking of suffering which is a result of faith in Christ as much as it is a title of honor for bearing the name of Christ. The reproach is because of the honorable name the believer bears, but which is used as a reproach by those who do not bear it. It is a title which can belong, and only belongs, to a “Christian.” This will become evident in verse 4:16.
If one is reproached in this way, Peter says, “blessed are you.” One who bears the name of Christ, and who is reproached for bearing that name, carries with him a blessing. In being a Christian, it means that something happened when they became a Christian. That is then seen with Peter’s next words. He says, “for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”
Very few translations properly render these words. Vincent’s Word Studies explains –
“Lit., the spirit of glory and that of God. The repetition of the article identifies the spirit of God with the spirit of glory: the spirit of glory, and therefore the spirit of God: who is none other than the spirit of God himself.”
A more suitable translation would be, “the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God.” It is a note implying the doctrine of the Trinity – One essence with individual “Persons” within the Godhead.
The blessing, then, is that this Spirit of Glory, meaning the Spirit of God, rests upon the person who bears the name of Christ. This is what Paul refers to in Ephesians 1 –
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13, 14
A person has the Spirit of God resting upon them, because they have trusted in Christ. In trusting in Christ, he bears the name of Christ. Peter calls this a blessing because it is the sign and the seal that we are restored to God. Therefore, to be reproached in the name of Christ can only be the highest honor of all.
Peter then explains this by saying that the reproach does not fall on the believer as much as it does on Christ (the subject of the verse) in whom the believer is reproached. As he says, “On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.” Christ is blasphemed when people reproach “Christians,” it is true, but Christ is glorified at the same time by those Christians who are willing to stand and receive reproach in His name, because it is He who is honored by the believer in the process.
The contents of the verse are important to follow properly, because Jesus says elsewhere these words –
“And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven.” Luke 12:10
It is these words which were probably on Peter’s mind. In Peter’s words, he speaks of being reproached in the name of Christ – something which can be forgiven. It is not the Holy Spirit who is being reproached, but rather the name of Christ. Those who reproach Christians because of the title they bear are doing so for exactly that reason. The Spirit has sealed the person and rests upon him, but that is unseen to the one who is reproaching. It is the name of Jesus, the Christ, who is the Subject of Peter’s words.
Life application: A few points to consider –
1) You cannot logically be reproached for the name of Christ if you are not a Christian;
2) Normally and rightfully, you won’t be reproached for the name of Christ, even if you are a Christian if you keep it a secret;
3) You can’t expect the blessing promised here if you are not reproached for the name of Christ, but this doesn’t mean you won’t be otherwise blessed.
4) Having the Spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, upon you is not necessitated upon bearing reproach for the name of Christ.
These four points should be obvious, but some people tend to miss one or more of them. For example, some people in the church age have been openly belligerent in their Christian life, seeking to be reproached and even martyred. They did this expecting a greater blessing in the afterlife (see point 4). This kind of thinking is abnormal. We are to live our lives in a manner which brings glory to Jesus, not to ourselves.
This then leads back up to point 2. You cannot bring glory to Jesus if you keep it a secret. What is the point of growing in the knowledge of Jesus if we don’t share it with others? Being timid about His role in your life is like being timid about eating dinner. When you share your faith in, and love for, Jesus – whether you are reproached or not – you can expect the Lord to favor it and bless you (see point 3). No matter what you face, a pat on the back or a punch in the head, you will be rewarded.
Don’t worry about your here and now! Instead, look to the needs of those who haven’t heard about Jesus, and share His name with them. If you do, the Spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, will lead you and support you because He rests on you. Have no fear in what man can do; the Lord can do so very much more!
Heavenly Father, how glorious You are. May we be willing to openly, and without timidity, stand on the title which we bear – Christian. Overwhelm our reticence, and give us the desire, ability, and action necessary to proclaim the name of Jesus. Whether we suffer reproach or thanks, may our words be filled with His great name! Amen.