1 Peter 4:16
For let none of you suffer as a murderer, etc. The apostle is still dwelling on the "fiery trial." All trial to the Christian is a fire that

(1) gives great rain;

(2) destroys evil;

(3) purifies the good. Notice -

I. SUFFERING FOR WRONG-DOING IS CERTAIN AND IS SHAMEFUL. "Let none of you suffer as a murderer," etc. This is strange counsel to Christians. That it is thus given to them:

1. Reminds us of the classes from which the first converts were drawn. No doubt many were not only from the poorest, but from criminal, classes. Hence the apostle's reminder after he has described some of the basest of characters, "Such were some of you."

2. Suggests to us to be on our guard against sins to which before we became Christians we were addicted. The old taint is a peril. Perhaps tow now need fear being "murderers" or "malefactors," but many may be on their guard against being "meddlers." "Lay aside the sin that so easily besets." "Them that obey not the gospel." Here is another class whose sufferings will bring shame. The climax of judgment is for them. Who can tell what their" end" will be? "The house of God" is under his control, and all in it must suffer for their wrong-doing. Those who know the claims of the gospel, the possibilities it offers, and yet despise it and reject it, "do not obey it," must have even severer suffering than Christians who have blundered into error or been overborne by evil, for they at least have

(1) resignation;

(2) hope of better life;

(3) conscious fellowship with a forgiving God.

II. SUFFERING FOR RIGHT-DOING MAY BEFALL US, BUT WILL BE A SOURCE OF GLORY. This Peter noted in earlier paragraphs, and reverts to again. "Suffer as a Christian," that is, because he is a Christian. The very name was at first one of scorn. And the name of scorn has become a name that glorifies God. So with all the sufferings that the character of those who truly wear that name has ever brought upon them. Are they the sufferings of

(1) poverty,

(2) unpopularity,

(3) contempt,

(4) persecution?

They are sufferings none need be ashamed of, but in which they may, as the noblest of men have done, glorify God.

III. SUFFERING FOR RIGHT-DOING MUST BE ENDURED IN THE RIGHT SPIRIT. The words of the nineteenth verse, the final words about "the fiery trial," are addressed to those who suffer because they are Christians.

1. They "suffer according to the will of God."

(1) Because he wills it;

(2) along the course of his wise providence.

2. In such sufferings they are to "commit their souls, in well-doing unto a faithful Creator." Here is the obligation of:

(1) Trust. "Commit;" deposit the treasure.

(2) Dutifulness. "In well-doing;' keep on doing the right.

(3) Trust in and dutifulness towards God. Faithful Creator. He knows - he cares: he will be faithful to his creation, and emphatically to the trustful ones. He who gave the soul its existence: and knows its capacities and needs, is its loving Guardian. - U.R.T.

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian.
One often hears it insinuated that a godly life is free from care and sorrow, but those persons do much harm who would cheat people into becoming religious by any such delusive hopes. All have troubles, but it makes a very great difference whether we sorrow with God or without Him. Let us now consider some of the sorrows of righteousness and compare them with the no less certain sorrows of unrighteousness. We divide the sufferings of the Christian into, first, those which spring from his struggles with outer things; secondly, those arising from his own nature — the world within. Every one knows how the first professors of Christianity had to suffer when that religion was in its infancy, and paganism or indifferentism was the creed of respectability. They were tortured, thrown to wild beasts, "butchered to make a Roman holiday." The men of noble aims find their lot a sad and lonely one still. They are smiled at as enthusiasts, sneered at as hypocrites. And then there is the pain which is felt by every one who bravely contends against the besetting sins of his inner life. Oh, who can escape from himself — this slothful, vain, selfish, lustful, envious self? To conquer this is indeed a struggle. But do not fancy for a moment that the sorrows of unrighteousness are at all less real. Suppose a man did gain the whole world at the trifling cost (as he might think it) of his own soul, what then? We know that Alexander was troubled because he had not another world to conquer, and is there not such a thing as satiety, monotony of success, and the want of not having a want? Ruined homes and cursed lives proclaim the penalties of unrestrained passions. The sufferings in this world of the murderer, thief, evil-doer, with death for wages, are at least as great as those of the Christian to be followed by God's gift of eternal life. Certainly it is difficult to resist our unholy natures, to tame rebellious passions; but there is one thing even more difficult, and that is to endure the misery which their unrestrained indulgence invariably brings along with it. Suffer we all must; but surely it makes a great difference whether God's love is seen through our sorrow, or we have the additional misery of feeling that we are in rebellion against our Heavenly Father, and that, therefore, the whole constitution of the world is against us.

(E. J. Hardy, M. A.)


1. A Christian is one who fully and cordially believes the testimony that is given concerning Christ.

2. A Christian is one who permanently obeys the commandments of Christ.

3. A Christian is one who receives his faith and holiness, and his desert in them, by the Spirit of Christ.


1. A Christian is justified from the guilt and condemnation of sin.

2. A Christian possesses friendship and constant inter course with God.

3. A Christian possesses the certainty of victory over death.

4. A Christian has the prospect of perfect and immortal happiness and glory.

(J. Parsons.)



1. In one aspect this commonness is astonishing, and should be convincing. "This is the finger of God."

2. In another view this commonness is reasonable.

3. In another view the commonness of the name is lamentable. The word Christian was once very significant and distinguishing. But, alas! in numberless instances now, it is not distinguishable at all.


1. A Christian is one who has a relation to Christ; not a professed, but a real relation — not a nominal, but a vital relation — yea, a very peculiar and preeminent relation, arising above every other you can mention; spiritual in its nature, and never ending in its duration; and deriving the possession and continuance of every enjoyment from Christ.

2. A Christian is a lover of Christ's doctrine.

3. A Christian is a lover of Christ's person.

4. A Christian is a copier of Christ's example.

5. A Christian is a dependent on Christ's mediation.

6. A Christian is expectant of Christ's coming.

(W. Jay.)

Glorify God on this behalf
Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.

1. To suffer in the character of a Christian. Where piety has its seat in the heart it will appear in the life, to be seen and identified by all (Matthew 5:13-16).

2. To suffer for discharging the duties of a Christian. Christianity frees its possessors from the slavery of custom; they are governed by the high principles of religion.

3. To suffer in the spirit of a Christian (Luke 21:19).


1. Because they suffer innocently.

2. They suffer in a good cause.

3. They suffer from the purest motive.

4. They suffer for a blessed Master.

5. They suffer in imitation of the brightest examples.

III. THEIR DUTY UNDER SUFFERING CIRCUMSTANCES, viz., to "glorify God on this behalf."

1. Devoutly acknowledging Him and His gifts (1 Chronicles 29:11, 12; confessing Him "worthy to receive honour, glory, might, and majesty" (Revelation 4:11). The very circumstance of their suffering should prompt them to this.

2. By firmness in the day of trial. Let nothing shake their firmness (1 Corinthians 15:58); but imitate the example of the disciples, who continued with their Lord in His temptations (Luke 22:28, 29).

3. By a faithful and patient endurance of suffering.


1. The declarations and promises He has made. These are many, great, and various (Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 43:1, 2; Isaiah 54:17; Matthew 10:32; James 1:12; Revelation 2:10; Revelation 22:7).

2. The honour it will confer upon them.Improvement: —

1. Let us examine our experience by this test.

2. Let us encourage ourselves in the Lord.

3. Let us pray for our persecutors.

(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

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