I Peter 2:18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
We are reminded often in the Scriptures that those who are saved are servants of the true God. The Bible does tell us that those who are saved have the privileges of a son over that of a servant. A son gets to know what the plans of the master are. A servant shows up for work and is told what to do and does it.
Christians are sons in that they are given insight into the plans of the Master. They are servants in that they are not given any input into the plans of the Master. They are privileged to be adopted into the family of the Master. That will be reward enough for those who are truly saved.
In the physical realm, there are those who are servants and those who are masters. The master owns the company and he makes the decisions as to the direction the company will go. Unions corrupt the servant/master relationship. In a union, the servants foolishly assume they have the right to tell the master how to run the company. Invariably, they will run the company into the ground. It may take a while for some companies to fall, but they can only sustain the unjust demands of the union for so long. In Canada the government has interfered in the master/servant relationship as well. They have taken the side of the servants because there are more servants to vote than there are masters. The governments don’t care that unions destroy countries. The politicians foolishly assume that they are separated from the turmoil in the streets. They do not realize, until it is too late, that they too will be affected by the tyranny of unions.
Godly servants serve their masters with all fear. They show respect for the master. Again, this is not written in a vacuum. It has context. We are told that some masters are good and gentle, and others are froward or aggressive and pushy. Joseph served in Potiphar’s house. He understood his boundaries because he did not just serve Potiphar. He served the true and living God. God’s standards are much higher than man’s.
Daniel and his three friends also understood that their master was God. They served the froward kings, but never sinned against God. When Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were commanded to bow before an idol, they refused. They could not be threatened by death. They demonstrated the importance of having a right relationship with God first of all.
When Daniel was told not to pray to his God for thirty days, he continued his regular habit. He too, could not be threatened with death. He had eternal life and his physical death would not change that. He too was able to show the king and the governors and the nation that it was much wiser to know and serve the true God, than to bow to the whims of a foolish king.
In verse 19 we are reminded that it is thankworthy to suffer for conscience toward God and endure grief, rather than to bow to the devil. Verse 20 helps us to understand verse 19. We see that our fear of the earthly master does not negate the importance of the fear of the LORD for the saved person.
In verse 20 we are asked an important question. God treats man as though he has a brain and can think. It is always important to think before you act. Think of where your plans are taking you. Of course it is necessary to be saved in order to be able to think things through properly. Lost people can think, but they do not think clearly. They know fire is hot, but then they jump into it anyway.
In verse 20 we are reminded that we all have our faults. Saved people will fail God in our thinking and actions. This is called sin. When we sin, we should expect trouble.
In the physical realm we can expect a reprimand or even a firing when we do not follow instructions. We might be docked some pay. We can expect that. We have not received anything different than a lost person doing the same thing, would face. A good master does not fire immediately. He has patience and he trains his employees. However, a careless employee is not worth having around.
When we suffer for doing well and we take it patiently, now we have done something unusual. Now we have done something that God accepts. Now we have identified with the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Keep in mind this is something that a lost person cannot do. There are lost people who have taken abuse and who have intentionally set themselves up to take abuse. They do it as a means to try to find favour with their false gods. They gain nothing from what they have done. However, those who are truly saved, are willing to suffer unjustly as a testimony of their salvation.
Peter and John rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus. They were both saved men. They were both apostles. They did not need to try to earn their salvation. They were motivated by the love of God to seek to help others to know the truth. It cost them pain and suffering. However, they were able to impact the lives of others through their faithfulness to God.
In verses 21-24 we see what our motivation is if we are saved. We again see why the tactic of easy believism, pray after me, philosophy is wrong. Lost people need to be saved. They need to know how to get to heaven. They also need to know that this earth is not heaven. If a person gets saved they will face suffering. The beauty is that when a person is saved, they are led to join a true local church. There they find fellowship with other saints in the presence of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. No true child of God is called to live in isolation from other true saints. We need the fellowship of the saints. Sometimes there will be few saints to join with us, but God knows what we need.
Even when the apostle Paul was in prison and all had forsaken him, he still had a few like Timothy that he could count on. They were not in his presence, but he asked them to come join him and to bring the parchments. The Word of God is always a blessing for the true child of God.
Our ungodly governments understand the importance of God’s Word for the true child of God. They try to deprive the saints of His Word when they lock them up. They tried to keep the saints from gathering together for fellowship over the past few years. Most “saints” demonstrated their lack of faith in God and submitted to the ungodly demands placed before them. There is no fellowship with a T.V. or the internet. If God leads you to a good pastor through the internet, and you do not have a good pastor in your area, He is showing you where you need to go to be able to fellowship with that pastor and those God has given him to minister to.
Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. When He began His public ministry He chose 12 men to join Him. He did not need them. He set a pattern. We need other godly people in our lives. Eleven of those 12 men were faithful and Jesus chose a 12th one to replace the fraud. Those 12 men were sent out to establish churches. What are churches? They are made up of saved people who meet in a particular location where they can invite others to join them and also learn the truth and be saved. Any true church has Jesus Christ as Its’ Head. Christians are commanded to multiply. God is in charge of the sum of the efforts to multiply. He has established the method used to multiply.
II Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
That has never changed. Sometimes God sends 100 fold increase, sometimes it is less. There is a preacher in the states that reported baptizing over 140 people in one Sunday recently. He claimed this was unheard of. He enlisted the help of other preachers and together they had an ecumenical worldly session that deceived a number of people into submitting to their craftiness. Sadly, that is becoming more and more common.
We need to listen to the Word of God and follow His way of doing things. His way brings fruit that remains. That is what counts.
We will continue looking at these important verses next time, Lord willing.