Faith in the Furnace

Faith in the Furnace

January 14, 2024

Series: New Testament

Book: 1 Peter

Bible Passage: 1 Peter 4:1-6

Today I want to discuss about one of the two points that I skipped from last week. The passage that we read today, Peter still talking about the same topic – how we are to be armed and to be prepared to face the suffering that is for the children of God. If we backtrack to chapter 2 to see the big picture of what Peter is trying to teach us, that the main goal for us as Christians to do in this life is to proclaim the excellencies of God. Chapter 2 verse 9 is one of the great purposes of Christian life, that is how that we can proclaim the excellencies of God who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. As we obey this command of God, then this command contains a risk – because we who have been called out darkness into His marvelous light, we are being sent into this dark world to proclaim God’s great work. There will be rejection, there will be oppositions from the world. The Lord Jesus said, I send you as sheep among this world. The world will hate you because you are not coming from this world, however if you are from this world then the world will not hate you but they will love you.

In Paul’s writing, Paul also described his whole life in this manner. He said that in his flesh he has filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. What is lacking in Christ afflictions is not the salvation that He has accomplished in the cross, that salvation has been accomplished perfectly by Christ, but what is lacking is that salvation has not been received by a lot of people in this world. Especially those people have been chosen by God to enter to this salvation but then they have not yet received the salvation because they have not been preached by the gospel. And so, Paul through his life through his suffering he will accomplish and he will fulfill what is lacking in Christ afflictions. Paul will experience sufferings like Christ, because through his life that follows Christ that he denies himself, bear his cross and following Christ that he will also face oppositions that is also faced by Christ Himself. But Paul said through these challenges, through these sufferings in his life that he is filling up what is lacking in Christ afflictions. Christ’s death is for to save those people who has been chosen by God before the world was created, including Christ’s sheep out there – and Christ himself said those sheep are mine but then they are still not within my pen. Therefore, I tell you go and preach my gospel and I will be with you and work with you, and then they will hear my voice through you, and they will respond and they will come be one flock of sheep in this sheep pen. But as you are doing this, there will be challenges, there will be sufferings and there will be oppositions from this world. And we can understand this as one of God’s calling for Christians in this world, to proclaim God’s marvelous great work. And so, in this passage, Peter tells us once again five more things to arm ourselves to face suffering.

The main point of our passage in Chapter 4 lies in verse 1a. “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same way of thinking.” This will arm ourselves and this will strengthen us to face great difficulties in this world. To face these great difficulties in this world requires certain way of thinking / attitude. Without these specific ways of thinking, then it is very easy for us to follow the flow of to complain, to even backslide in our following God. So, what kind of thinking that Peter is implying in this passage? That is the thinking that just like Christ’s suffer in the flesh. In other words, to live and doing good works to be Christ’s witnesses in this world to follow God’s will. And so in the passages that we’ve just read, Peter gave us at least four points, as follow:

  1. 1. How are we supposed to face these sufferings is to realise that Christ has suffered? A suffering that is not only befallen upon Him, but He actively chooses that path so that He can save us.
  2. 2. We are the people who have cut off from sin. It is from verse 1b: “because whoever suffers in the flesh has ceased from sin”. What does it mean to have ceased from sin? We can understand it at least in two ways, the first one in our status as children of God. Our status as a new man, especially this has been spoken many times in Paul’s letters in Rome and Galatia. But the second understanding is Peter saying that we should have readiness to say no to sin and be ready to do God’s will even we will face sufferings in this world. To live and to do the work on the will of God means that we cut off ties with sin. This will make no sense for those who did not believe in God but this will make total sense for us if we know the true calling of being a Christian. And so, we have to realise that Christians are not only refrain from doing what is sinful, but also to do what is right and what is according to the will of God.
  3. 3. Those people who afflicted sufferings on us will be judged by God. Verse 5 stated that “But they who do the evil to us they who find it strange for what we do for our lives, they who will the account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. We should ask ourselves; how should this verse strengthen us as children of God? How is that these truths that will have to give the account to him who is ready to judge them. How is this supposed to affect us and the way it should affect us is that is should give us calmness, stability to do the will of God. This verse gives us the strength to become so that we may not repay evil with evil, because there is no single person who can evade the judgement. Even death itself will not prevent us from facing that judgement from God. The judgement of God will only take place in two ways: 1.) The judgement that happened on the cross when God wrath being brought out on the cross for our sins. 2.) For those outside the Christ, they will receive the judgement God upon themselves. They will have to give the account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
  4. 4. And this point brings us to the last consolation, that is we who are in Christ are victorious over death. Verse 6 stated that “For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.”


May these points strengthen us and console us to live and obey the will of God, to proclaim the magnificent work of God, to do good works so that people may glorify our father in heaven. And as we do this, we know that there is risk to suffer, there will be risk for afflictions. But Peter encourages us that Christ has also underwent that suffering. And we as Christians has cut off ties with sin and we now live for God. We who are in Christ will have victory over sin and death, and we will not be judged. We will have an abundance of joy and we will live in the fullness with the Lord. He will give us a new body so that we will be able to live with Him in joy and fullness and glory with Him forever. And may these truths encourages us to live faithfully doing the will of God so that people will see the good works that we do and glorify our father in heaven.