No doubt most of us long for the day that God’s perfect justice will reign on this earth, and that day will most certainly come. But for now, sin has corrupted everything. As a result, we see incredible injustices all around us.
For the Christian, we must understand that when we are treated unjustly, God can accomplish amazing things both in and through our lives. But in order for this to happen, we must learn to think biblically in the midst of the great challenges of life and learn to respond appropriately.
For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.
1 Peter 2:19
Consider the first phrase in verse 19: For this finds favor. Favor is the same word for grace. The idea is that this is commendable or pleasing to God. The real shock is what God says is pleasing. “If for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.” I think these are some of the hardest words for Christians to hear and accept.
The assumption is that a Christian will face unjust circumstances in this life. When this occurs, God is pleased when we “bear up under sorrows.” That is, we are to have courage and endure when we are in the midst of grief and affliction. The reason we are willing to endure is because it is vastly more important to us that we please God than that we are treated fairly in this life.
The next verse cautions us about taking the easy road and choosing to sin when we are treated unjustly. Let’s face it, it is much easier to respond sinfully than it is to “patiently endure it.” The fact that God instructs us “to patiently endure it” is a reminder that the trial will not go away quickly. Once again, we are reminded that to respond properly will be pleasing to God.
For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.
1 Peter 2:20
Lest you think that suffering unjustly ought to be an anomaly in a believer’s life, consider the next verse:
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…
1 Peter 2:21
In the same way that you were called to be a child of God, you have also been called to suffer unjustly. This is part and parcel of the Christian life. This is God’s sovereign will for His children. We ought not to be surprised when we face the injustices of life. We should anticipate them and determine to live in a manner that brings honor to our Lord.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
1 Peter 4:12–13