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THE BLESSING OF SANCTIFICATION (THROUGH SUFFERING):
1 Peter 4:1-14

I. Introduction: 

 Jesusí life in the flesh was not what we might expect. His ministry was tireless. He taught and healed for three years without much of a break. His passion was terrible: rejection from the religious leaders, rejection from his own disciples, culminating in His Father forsaking Him as He died on the cross. This is the life that Jesus led in the flesh. He was a man of sorrows, our suffering servant, who knew great difficulties while here on the earth. And what was His message: If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23).

II. The passage:

 A. Context: The book of 1 Peter deals repeatedly with the call to suffer.  Jesus came to ransom us from our sinful ways by shedding His precious blood (1:19).  The Fatherís plan was to send Him, He was chosen and precious, yet, He was rejected by men (2:4).  We are to suffer faithfully because to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps (2:21).  He came in the flesh to bear our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (2:24).  He took on flesh and He suffered in the flesh so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, which is the conclusion that Peter draws in chapter 4.  Jesus suffered in the flesh to save us and equip us to suffer in the flesh in our pursuit of Him.

 B. Blessing: So then, how is Jesusí incarnation and suffering in the flesh a blessing to us when it comes to our suffering?  Jesus lived a life of suffering, a life that was dead to sin, so that He could free us from our sins through His death that we might die to sin and live for Him, even when that means suffering.  His suffering in the flesh equips and prepares us for our suffering in the flesh.  Our dying to sin and living to righteousness is called sanctification.  We are becoming more and more like Christ, which involves suffering in the flesh.  Godís plan for His people is to conform them into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).  One of the primary means that God uses to do that in the lives of believers is suffering.  As we suffer, we become more like the One who came and suffered for us to save us.  His life in the flesh equips us and empowers us to become more like Him in our life in the flesh.

 C. Response: The command that Peter gives us is to suffer well.  Like Christ, we are to entrust ourselves to him who judges justly (2:23).  Since He came and suffered, we are to arm ourselves with the same way of thinkingÖso as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God (4:1-2).  We are not to be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes, but we are to rejoice and consider ourselves blessed (4:12-14).  The suffering of Christ in the flesh empowers us to face the suffering that we must face in order to be made more like Him.  We never suffer alone.  We never cry out to a Savior in our suffering who has not been there before.  Thus, the incarnation is a blessing for us in the work of sanctification through suffering.  Rejoice, even in suffering, that you are becoming more like Christ.  Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 January 2013 )

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