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About-Him.Com Devotional 01-14-2017
1 Peter 2:18-25 - Called to Suffering
This text is addressed to believers, many of whom who were slaves. I have struggled with how we apply God’s word that was written in the 1st century, when slavery was the norm and women were the property of their husbands, to today’s modern church and society. Anyone else?
One thing to consider about slavery is that when Peter wrote this text, two thirds of the world’s population were slaves. Whenever Rome conquered a country, they enslaved the population, thus slaves outnumbered the freeborn. Thus the master’s and governments lived in constant fear of revolt. Rebellion and resistance was out of the question in the apostle’s minds. It hadn’t been too many years since the slave revolt of Spartacus in B.C. 73, which ended in slaughter. Jesus said that if his kingdom was of this world, his disciples would fight, but His kingdom was not of this world. Anyhow, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds (2 Cor. 2:4). If we need a change in our circumstances, change can only come by using spiritual weapons.
John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
The apostle Paul also addressed the subject of slavery in Col. 3:22-25 and 1 Cor. 7:17-23. and Philemon 1. He urged slaves to be good workers and he also urged masters to not abuse their power. In Col. 3:25-29 he lays down the principal, that the believer belongs to a heavenly kingdom. They are children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. That supersedes any restrains that society can impose. In God’s kingdom, there is neither Jew or Greek or male and female. By faith, we may be a slave but we all are heirs to the promises of God.
So how does it apply to modern day Christians? I would say, “More than we probably think.” First of all, we owe our employers a full day’s work. Ephesians 6:6 and Colossians 3:22 tell us to not to work with eye service as men pleasers but with singleness of heart, fearing God. In other words, the boss may not always be watching, but God is. If God is pleased with our work, the boss surely will be also.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 tells us whatever our hand finds to do, we are to do with all of our might. That certainly enhances our Christian testimony. I have found that the testimony of lazy Christians carries very little weight in the workplace, but rather is held to scorn.
Well, thankfully our employers cannot beat us, but they can fire us. In my forty years of employment, I always strived to perform my job as to the Lord, but I often fell far short in the patience department. I was too quick to exercise my right of free speech and to stand up for my rights. I would have been a better representative of the kingdom of God, if I had forfeited some of my rights and kept my mouth shut.
The apostle is saying that we are called to suffer in this world, and that we must followed the example that Jesus set when He suffered for us. Jesus was sinless and no guile was found in His mouth. When He was reviled, He didn’t answer in kind. When He was threatened, he didn’t threaten in return, although He had the power to call legions of angels to come to His aid (Mt. 26:23). The kingdom of God cannot be changed by force. The Crusaders of the 9th to 11th century tried and the world is still suffering the consequences.
Sooner or later, we all will all be misused or suffer in this world, some much more than others. I believe that those who have suffered persecution or like the saints in Haiti, will have a far greater reward in heaven, than many of us. When suffering comes, Jesus is our example. He endured persecution and suffering, because of us. He was wrongfully accused and endured a cruel crucifixion for us, none of whom were remotely worthy of such love. He did not open His mouth, all that He might bring us into the kingdom of God.
Our commission is to brings others into the kingdom of God (Mk. 16:16; Mt. 28:19). Circumstances, no matter how severe, are only temporary. The kingdom of God is eternal. When the kingdom is fully implemented, we won’t have to worry about pain and suffering any longer.
Song: My God, My King and My Redeemer
The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life. -- James L. Christensen
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