As we move deeper into 1 Peter, we see where Peter reminds his readers multiple times that events might happen in a way that we don’t want them to happen.  He emphasizes that we then have to focus on being intentional in our though processes.  How are we to be grounded?  How should we focus our minds on what God wants?  Can we control our emotions so that we are responding instead of reacting?

Peter says don’t act as if you are immune to tough times.  And don’t treat it as a stranger or alien.  And we are not to be surprised or unprepared.  And if you do fail to prepare, or if you fail to respond, you will get burned.  We know when this all began, at the betrayal of Adam and Eve.  When they ate of the tree of good and evil, they released sin into the world.  They ate not just to have something different to eat, but it was a rebellion and choosing to not trust God.

Part of the understanding is that Jesus took all this on himself and he didn’t deserve it.  We deserved all the suffering.  But God provides a way for us to escape ultimate suffering.  This is why Paul in can say that suffering here is only temporary, and to focus on the ultimate salvation and relief given by God.  But as God’s people, we will be blessed even in a world that brings suffering and insult to us.

Peter starts by warning about those who actually act wrongly and suffer from it.  Those who bring suffering because of sin, in some way, are exposing themselves.  We cannot do wrong and open ourselves to suffering because of it.  But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed of (back or shrink away from) your Christianity.  The world will give us a hard time because of it, but we are going to take the blessings of God with us and live in the world as Christians.  We aren’t Christians because we come to church, but we come to church because we are Christians.

Peter then begins to dig into the area of God’s judgement.  We have to realize that even though God has provided for each of us, he still allows the fallen world to continue forward.  We have to know that suffering does not mean we are under judgement.  In addition there will be those who will blame God for the suffering of the world.  Why doesn’t he just remove suffering?  But they fail to see the fallen world, and the ultimate judgement that exists.  God will bless those who come to him, but suffering will come to them by a world that chooses not to come to Him.

Here Peter quotes from where he points out the danger of linking suffering with salvation.  Because if suffering means lack of faith, how worse off is the lost world. We can look back to we how Peter began this discussion of suffering.  That salvation and our faith is greater than the suffering in the world.

So what is Peter saying about faith?  Faith has to be tested.  That we begin to understand what trusting God means.  It means that we are clearing God’s character in our minds.  Not that he needs cleared of something, but that we need to remove our own baggage keeping us form trusting God’s perfect character that is always there.  So as long as we have faith, our confidence in Jesus means we will be strengthened by the trials and tribulations of life.  But without faith, the suffering fire will consume instead of refining us.

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (ESV)

13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (ESV)

4:1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. 18 Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness? (ESV)

15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. (ESV)

17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (ESV)

18 And

“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (ESV)

31 If the righteous is repaid on earth,
how much more the wicked and the sinner!

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (ESV)