1 Peter 2:18-25
Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 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. For even hereunto were ye called:because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 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. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls
1. God’s Will and Suffering
Does God will the unjust suffering of his people?
I think this text assumes that God sometimes wills for his people to suffer unjustly. I see that in verse 21:”you were called to this.” But lest you doubt that, Peter says the same thing more explicitly several other places. For example in 4:19, “Let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” And again in 3:17, “It is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.”
God wills this because he knows the best way for us to bring glory to him―sometimes by miraculously escaping suffering, and sometimes (more often) by graciously bearing suffering, that we do not deserve from men, because we trust in God.
God often wills that we suffer unjustly and that we bear it by his grace and for his glory.
2. Justice for Wrongdoing
Where is justice for the wrongdoing of abusive masters?
There are two answers. One is:justice is in God at the last day. God will settle all accounts justly. No one will get away with anything. Those who hold Christ and his people in derision and do not repent will one day cry out for the rocks and mountains to fall upon them rather than face the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:16).
The other answer is that God has given a measure of his authority for retaliation in this age to the state as his minister for keeping order and peace in society. 1 Peter 2:14 says that God ordains kings and governors to “punish evildoers and praise those who do right.” So God wills that governments punish those who cause Christians (or anyone else) to suffer unjustly. We may legitimately labor for such a government. But the God- given rights of the state to retaliate and punish does not nullify the God- given calling of the individual Christian to endure unjust suffering patiently. God’s glory shines partly through his dispensing of justice through the state. But it shines much more through the patient, God- centered suffering of his people.