1 Peter 3:13-22


The true church has the only message for the world to hear, and that is the gospel that saves through Christ alone. But don’t be surprised that you’re not met with open arms; but with opposition, confusion, and hostility, from the world around us. 

 Many in this present world system live lifestyles of…..

Conflict instead of peace.

Sin instead of purity.

Pride instead of humility.

Hatred instead of compassion.

Rebellion instead of obedience.


Peter moves from our right response to submission to the blessing that flow for unjust suffering with this question. Peter asks,Now who is there to harm you if your zealous for what is good?” (v13). Peter has already given us what a virtuous/zealous life looks like by what has been previously stated. This zealous passion, we have for Christ, might be faced with suffering for righteousness sake, but it’s worth every second of it. (v14) It’s important to note that Peter wants us to meet our suffering head on without asking the question…. Why does God allow the righteous to suffer or, Why a good and loving God can permit it? Suffering for the believer should …. be prepared for it, look to Christ while doing it and entrust oneself into the hands of a Sovereign and Just God. We have the example of Christ whose… unjust suffering fulfilled God’s triumphant purpose in redemptionAt the heart of the gospel is the fact that Jesus was absolutely righteous, dying for absolutely unrighteous sinners. His undeserving suffering in this one event has been the purpose to bring many into His kingdom though the gospel confession. God had His perfect plan brought to fulfillment by using evil, sinful men, “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” Acts 2:23


God’s sovereign providential plan has always been that His Son would suffer, and die, as the substitute for sinful man and woman. The world system/society sees this as child abuse, but the believer sees this as unimaginable grace given to sinners like you and me. Paul wrote “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Roman 5:1-5


Suffering for righteousness sake is a necessity, and a part of the Christian life as J C Ryle said “Bodily pain and disease have been instrumental in rousing many to seek Christ, when those who were in good health have given themselves no concern about Him. The ground which is not rent and torn with the plough, bears nothing but thistles and thorns. The vines will run wild in process of time, if they are not pruned and trimmed. So would our wild hearts be overrun with filthy, poisonous weeds--if the true Vine-dresser did not often check their growth by crosses and sanctified troubles.”


Peter in this portion of Scripture is to remind us that unjust suffering for Christ is a blessing, as a demonstration of His grace in saving you. Righteous living is going to face unjust suffering. But this suffering Peter is calling us to….. Is an honorable one; to suffer for Christ is producing something far greater than we can see, fear, or imagine.

The Believer Unjust Suffering Produces Something Eternal. (v13- v17)


Shouldn’t we expect some form of suffering

for the sake of the gospel?


Shouldn’t we be willing to suffer for Christ considering

what He did for you and me?


Shouldn’t we at least expect some form of tension,

or opposition from others towards the Scriptures?


Especially since the mob cried for Christ to be “crucified”. John 19:1-16. These were some of the same people who previous sang “Hosanna, Hosanna”. John 12:13. If your answer is No, to these questions, then you have a shallow, and narrow understanding, of the cost that was paid to redeem your unworthy soul. Peter says the believer is to “Honor Christ in your heart” (v15)


The first article of suffering unjustly is to always

honor Christ in your heart.


Why? A right view of our suffering begins here. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Prov 23:7. As we honor Christ in our heart, our unjust suffering opens doors to reveal what is our core values and beliefsWe call this “Apologetics” this has to do with providing an intellectual defense of the truth claims of Christianity. Our unjust sufferings are preparing for us to make ready a defense for the hope that lies within us. If you, and I, were dragged into the House Of Commons, if we were on trial for our faith before a Judge, we are to be prepared to say what we believe and why we believe it. If someone walks up to you or me and says, “I noticed that you were a Christian, what is that you believe?”

As we suffer, possibly unjustly for the Lord’s sake, are you ready to give an answer? “Defense” is the Greek word “apologia” which translates as “apology”. Every Christian is to be prepared to give an apology to all, and this doesn’t mean we say, “We are sorry for being a Christian.” This happens when with a consistent lifestyle of virtue that draws the attention of the unbeliever.


The question could be asked!


As anyone asked you lately? And if not,

doesn’t that concern you?


This word “apology” is that we are to give a defense; in other words know your Bible well. (Reference, chapter, a proper hermeneutical and exegesis of the text.) Take for example Justin Martyr, a defender of the church when he addressed the Emperor’s false charges that were being spread about the church.


The charges against the church were:


Atheism for not embracing the pagan polytheism of Rome, or the Emperor cult.

Sedition for not worshiping the Emperor, they were labeled as being traders to the Empire.

Cannibalism when Jesus spoke about the Lord’s Table, Christians eating flesh and drinking blood.


Justin Martyr gave a clear apologia/defense for the hope that lies within him as… He explains to the Emperor that Christians were not Atheists, but committed theists who believe in one God, not many as the Romans did. Isaiah wrote, “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me…” Isa 45:5. Paul wrote, “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” 

Eph 4:6

He explained that while Christians do not worship Caesar, they are rigorously obedient to the civil magistrates, they pay taxes, and they also pray for those who rule over them. But the Christian do not see Caesar as a deity, because Jesus is Lord.


Paul wrote, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil 2:9-11


He explains to the Emperor the nature of the Lord’s Supper is a symbol; not cannibalism, or a literal act of eating flesh or drinking blood done by Christians.


The apostle Paul said, “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” 1 Cor 11:23-26


The First Task of apologist is to correct the misinterpretations, and distortions, that are being spread about Biblical Christianity. (v15) As Paul used this as an opportunity to share biblical truth with intellect of his age with the only way for man to be saved found in Acts 17:22-34.  (Turn with me to) The Second Task is what Peter says next “Yet do it, with gentleness and respect.” (v16) Gentleness is described as “Sensitivity of disposition and kindness of behavior, founded on strength and prompted by love.” It also is translated “meekness,” this does not mean weakness. Respect is better translation of the Greek word is “reverence” this expresses devotion to God, a deep regard for His truth, and even respect for the person listening. Paul wrote, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” 

Col 4:5-6

We must always demonstrate a right Biblical attitude. We must seek God and His wisdom to find strength in times of conflict and disagreements. This involves humility and thankfulness toward God, and polite, restrained behavior toward others. How?  “… speaking the truth in love,….. ,” Eph 4:15. We speak the truth in love by keeping a good conscience that is good unto the Lord. A good conscience will allow believers to be secure in a hostile world as they suffer unjustly for the Lord’s sake. Our Conscience is the divinely-placed internal mechanism that either accuses us, or excuses us, before the Lord. It having the idea of knowing oneself and the Scriptures reveal we do. “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. Rom 2:14. What Paul is saying is this, “Even those without God’s written law have an innate moral sense of right and wrong. So, since the conscience holds people to their highest perceived standard, we as God’s children need to set the standard to the highest level. As Paul said, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Tim 1:5. “A good conscience is what every Christian must keep or, better maintain, even as we suffer unjustly.”


The Believer Has The Example Of Christ For Unjust Suffering. (v18-v22)


A Man without sin is falsely accused, unfairly condemned, and unjustly stripped of his dignity and human decency. He was excluded from society, given the harshest of judgments for His so-called crimes, receiving the sentence of deathA Just Man faces an unjustified death for a crime He never committed. “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,..” Heb 5:7-9


The Lord Jesus Christ is our greatest example of the necessity of suffering. Christ alone is the focus of our attention in our sufferings. Christ’s substitutionary death is… the Just, dying for the unjust. In order to do what? “Bring us to God.” (v18) The Hebrew writer wrote, “But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Heb 9:26-28


“Some of the most valuable lessons of obedience

are learned in the furnace of affliction.”


Suffering is a necessity if we are ever to see the Kingdom of His grace. Though we may not understand why we go through suffering, there is a good purpose achieved by these sufferings. “Our affliction is very useful and profitable in the Christian life!” Let that portion of Scripture sink in for a moment; because Paul knows a lot about suffering unjustly. “From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” Gal 6:17. The glory and the blessing we receive transcends our suffering, discomfort, distresses and so on. The future glory outweighs all of our past, present and future sufferings in this life. Without our suffering we couldn’t experience the hope, and life we have in Christ. Without our suffering it would only leave us walking aimlessly; life would be meaningless and flavorless. As so many did before the Flood, after the flood, and present day; as Peter references here (v19) and Christ proclaiming to the “spirits in prison”. 

The Scriptures say, “He went” meaning a real place, “What is this place?” The Book of Revelation calls this prison seven times the “bottomless pit.” A prison, the abyss/not Hell, where Jesus proclaimed His triumphant announcement to “captive beings” in prison. I agree with other theologians that Jesus is speaking to “spirits” not human beings; otherwise He would have used the word “souls”. Jesus didn’t go there to evangelize the demon spirits that were incarcerated to give them a second chance; He went to herald His Victory over sin and death. The same spirits that cohabited with human women in Satan’s failed attempt to corrupt the human race. 

Gen 6:1-4


Demons dread this place as many tried to pled with Jesus, “Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion," for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss.” Luke 8:30-31. Ever since Satan was kicked out of God’s kingdom in Isaiah 14:12-15, he, and his fallen angels, have been trying to destroy what God declared to be good.

For example…

Satan’s apparent victory over the fall of Adam in the garden.

His numerous attempts to destroy the people of Israel.

The attempt to kill the infant Messiah.

Tempting the Son of God in the wilderness.

Inciting mobs to action to crucify Christ.

To the death of Christ on the cross of Calvary.


So maybe many of the demons were celebrating this victory over His death and Jesus had to put the flames out by proclaiming His victory. Ever since the fall of Satan and his demons, they continue to disrupt the gospels and the church. But, don’t miss the main point of the text! The victory we have in Christ death and resurrection is our source of hope. As we endure to fiery darts of Satan, and his fallen angels, in a world that hates the God of the Bible. ”Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Eph 6:11-13


Without this spiritual battle of suffering for Christ,

life would be insurmountable.


Our suffering is nothing in comparison to our eternal inheritance. “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:6-10

The only way to make sense of our suffering and trials

is to look to the Cross of Christ.

This is where our hope and foundation lies in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus our Lord.  (v22). The One who gives us an eternal hope for this present life, to a glorious future to live with Him for all eternity. One day God will remove our trials and suffering. No trial is without an end, at least for the child of God who is saved by sovereign grace. Our unjust suffering is earthly; where our glory is heavenlyOur unjust suffering is short; where our glory is endless and eternalOur unjust suffering is in our mortal bodies, where our soul will be perfected and imperishable in Heaven. As Christ is our example of unjust suffering we learn that…. Christ’s suffering brings us into a right relationship with God. Christ’s suffering reminds us that it’s too late for those who died in their rebellion. Christ’s suffering strengthens our faith in our suffering, as we rest in the One who is seated at the right of the Father. (v22)


Peter concludes with a glorious truth concerning

Jesus Christ’ triumphant suffering.


“The right hand of God” a place of honor, and authority, which refers to a place of prestige and power. “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2. Our unjust suffering assures us of the greatness of Christ over us. Because He is not bound by space and time. It is better to obey Christ and suffer in this life unjustly than to disobey and be cast into the Lake Of Fire for all eternity. It is no disadvantage to you to be rejected unjustly for the sake of the gospel confession. As Paul said, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39


Popular posts from this blog

Names of God's Children