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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Persecution for Jesus helps our prayer life (1 Peter 4:19)

What does Peter tell his persecuted readers to do? His advice is stated in this verse: ‘Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.’ They will persist in two activities: first, they will continually commit their souls to their faithful, powerful God; second, they will simultaneously do good, even to those who oppose them. Here we have an example of how to fulfil Paul’s requirement that we pray without ceasing.   

It is noteworthy that Peter does not suggest here that they should commit their bodies into God’s hands. Peter is not despising the body, but he is prioritising matters for his readers. There is no guarantee that God will protect our bodies from harm in this life, but there are many promises about him keeping our souls. 

What should a Christian pray about in times of opposition? Obviously he should pray for protection, but should do so knowing that God may allow him to be persecuted. The believer’s priority, whether in times of ease or difficulty, must be his soul. They must persist in asking God to make them Christlike. 

So what is the point of suffering? We have seen in recent readings that Peter mentions six aspects: suffering proves we are genuine Christians, suffering assures us of glory, suffering brings special blessings from the Spirit, suffering should not lead us to be ashamed of Jesus, suffering is a reminder that divine judgement is coming, and suffering teaches us to pray about the character of our souls. 

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