Perfection Through Suffering

Perfection Through Suffering

"But the God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you." (1 Peter 5:10). Here God is called the God of ALL GRACE. He leads His people through suffering in order that He might impart His grace to them and "perfect, confirm and establish them". Paul experienced God's all-sufficient grace through receiving a thorn in his flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Peter's first letter too has much to say about suffering as the means by which God dispenses His grace to us.

We read that "Christ also suffered for us, LEAVING YOU AN EXAMPLE THAT YOU SHOULD FOLLOW HIS STEPS WHO DID NO SIN, neither was guile found in his mouth.......... Christ therefore having suffered in the flesh, be you also armed with the same thought: for he that hath suffered in the flesh, hath CEASED FROM SINS:" (1 Peter 2:21-22; 4:1). Here we are clearly told to follow the example of Christ "Who suffered, so that we might not sin at any time. Grace is meant to make us holy,"as He Who called us is Holy" (1 Peter 1:16).

Peter reminds us that "He that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sins. That now he may live the rest of his time in the flesh, not after the desires of men, but according to the will of God." (1 Peter 4:1-2). To "suffer in the flesh" does not mean becoming sick in the body, for no-one has ever stopped sinning thereby. It does not mean being beaten and bruised for Christ's sake either, for no-one has stopped sinning that way either. It refers rather to denying the desires of Self, which are in opposition to the will of God. Sin brings a certain pleasure. To suffer is the opposite of enjoying that pleasure. If we are willing to suffer in each and every situation, then we can cease from sin. God will help us if we are willing. In fact, He even works to make us willing. "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation. For it is God who worketh in you, BOTH TO WILL and to accomplish, according to his good will." (Philippians 2:12-13). But so often we resist His workings. That is why we remain defeated.

Christ suffered in the flesh, and we are to arm ourselves with the same mind. Jesus walked this way of self-denial all His life. He came to earth in the flesh and never did His own will but always the will of His Father, no matter how much suffering that may have involved (John.6:38). Thus He never sinned. Now, we also have the opportunity to"follow in His steps, Who committed no sin" (1 Peter 2:21-22).

This is the gospel (good news) of the grace of God.