Charles Simeon Commentary - 1 Peter 4:19 - 4:19

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Charles Simeon Commentary - 1 Peter 4:19 - 4:19

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1Pe_4:19. Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

GOD has mercifully engaged to save his people at the last. They may however meet with many severe conflicts in their way. Nor are they to expect to he saved but with great difficulty. Nevertheless they may safely commit themselves to God, in hope of a happy issue out of all their trials. Hence the Apostle suggests, in a way of inference, the advice in the text.

We propose to shew,

I.       What Christians must expect to suffer—

Though all are not called to bear the cross in the same degree, yet all should be prepared to suffer,

1.       In their reputation—

[That “fear of God” which the Scriptures represent to be “the beginning of wisdom,” the world considers as the summit of folly. However wise, learned, or discreet any man may be, he cannot escape the imputation of weakness or enthusiasm, if he will “follow the Lord fully.” If our Lord and Master was called Beelzebub, his servants can expect no better name.]

2.       In their property—

[In former times the saints have frequently “suffered the loss of all things:” nor is it uncommon now for friends, and even parents, to withdraw their kindness from godly persons on account of their religion. Who does not know that eminent piety is a bar, rather than a help, to promotion? “They then who would be Christ’s disciples, must forsake all, and follow him.”]

3.       In their liberty and life—

[Through the tender mercy of our God we are protected by the laws of the land: but none can tell what changes may yet arise: multitudes even in this kingdom have suffered death for Christ’s sake; and, whether called to this trial or not, we should be prepared for it.]

To reconcile us to these dispositions, we proceed to shew,

II.      Why it is the will of God that we should suffer—

God is pleased to permit it,

1.       For the trial of our faith—

[God can discern our graces, though we should have no opportunity to exercise them; but, if they be not called forth into act, neither have we the comfort of them, nor he the glory: hence God permits “the fiery trial to try us,” that he may discover both to ourselves and others “what great things he has done for us.”]

2.       For the advancement of our graces—

[Our graces almost invariably languish when our outward circumstances are easy; but in seasons of difficulty they put forth themselves with strength: though Jesus needed no such stimulus, yet even he was “made perfect through sufferings;” and it is for the accomplishment of the same end, that God has made our road to lie “through much tribulation.”]

3.       For the manifestation of his own glory—

[The patience of the saints is a ground of astonishment to the unbelieving world; and the supports which God administers to them fills their hearts with gratitude towards him. But what bursts of praise will resound from the myriads of his redeemed, when all the wonders of his love shall be universally and completely known!]

Satisfied with these appointments of the Deity, let us inquire,

III.     What our conduct should be when called to suffer—

The best of men may be brought, as it were, “to their wit’s end”—

But the advice in the text is the most proper that can be given—

1.       Let us “commit our souls to God’s care and keeping”—

[We must not attempt to stand in our own strength: nothing less than God’s wisdom and power can defeat the conspiracy that is formed against us: we should make him therefore the manager of our cause, and “the keeper” of our souls.]

2.       Let us at the same time persist “in well-doing”—

[We must neither be irritated to do evil, nor deterred from doing good. The more we are persecuted for the sake of Christ, the more studious we should be “to put our enemies to silence by well-doing:” the very efforts of the enemy to extinguish our light should cause it to shine the brighter.]

3.       Let us, above all, confide in God “as a faithful Creator”—

[God has promised to “keep the feet of his saints;” and he will perform it: we should suffer nothing to rob us of this confidence: if we “trust firmly in him, we shall be like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved.”]