Having hope in the midst of suffering

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A quick read through 1 Peter will reveal a theme of hope in the midst of suffering. And while this is a rather dominant theme, so, too, is the message of “doing good.”

Are these themes at odds with each other? No, quite the contrary. The believers addressed in 1 Peter are those who have been exiled, those who find themselves as unwanted citizens because of their pledge of allegiance to Jesus Christ. The evil society that surrounds these Christian communities is hurling insults and speaking evil against them.

So what are these faith communities to do? What would the apostle instruct of them? Do they swing a sword as he once did in the garden of Gethsemane? Would he suggest lashing back?

We actually see again and again Peter’s instruction of “doing good.”

But what would that solve? Would that stop the verbal abuse? Maybe. Maybe not.

Peter suggests that by their good deeds God would be glorified, ignorant talk may be stopped, and that those who maliciously speak against their good behavior may be ashamed. But it is just as likely that the persecution would continue. And that is why Peter consistently instructs the exiled flocks to do good … to faithfully represent Jesus Christ to the surrounding culture, to be those who are eager to do good in spite of the opposition they face. In so doing, they will represent Jesus Christ and the example that he gave to the Church. Good works are not a byproduct of convenience, but are the outflow of transformation through Jesus Christ.

So let Peter’s message to those Christian communities long ago be a fresh word of exhortation to you today … demonstrate faithfulness to Jesus to the unbelieving society that now surrounds you as you remain steadfast in doing good.

Pastor Jeff Kuhn can be reached at Mountain Springs Church in Sandpoint, mscsandpoint.org or 208-255-5903

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