Suffering for Righteousness’ Sake

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). Peter echoes the words of Jesus – “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed” (1Pe 3:14a). He then instructs us as to how we should respond when we suffer for living righteously (3:13-17).

We must not be afraid or troubled if and when we are threatened with harm for leading a righteous life. Jesus said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Similarly, Peter wrote that we are not to fear people, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). We must treat the Lord as holy and fear only Him. We must also be ready to give the reason for our hope when asked. The Christian has hope beyond this life. Even if he should suffer death for righteousness’ sake, he knows he has an inheritance in heaven reserved for him (1:4). When we suffer in this life, the world will see we have hope, and sometimes ask how we can have such hope in difficult times. Our hope is in the Lord Who gave Himself for us, and was raised from the dead! Peter wrote that we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1:3). He also said that through Jesus we believe in God Who raised Him from the dead that our faith and hope are in God (2:21). And we fully rest our hope on the grace that will be brought to us at the coming of Jesus Christ (1:13). Because of the hope we have in Christ, we can patiently and joyfully endure suffering to the glory of God.