Have you ever noticed that life isn’t fair sometimes? We do the right thing and people misunderstand us or mistreat us or they run their own selfish agendas. We end up with the raw end of the deal. Have you ever noticed that? When that happens sometimes we want to “tear that person’s head off.” Some of us can do that and we have become pretty good at it in time.

Then along comes Jesus. The Son of God-miracle man extraordinaire. If anyone had the right to tear some people apart when they arrested Him, beat Him, spat on Him, and mocked Him-well, He did. He said nothing, and they nailed Him to a cross. Why? Why didn’t He say something? Why didn’t He give them hell?

In 1 Peter 2:19-25, Peter addresses the subject of servanthood, which is a key part of the Christian lifestyle. Following Christ in obedience and serving Him is not an option for an authentic Christian lifestyle. Christians are not free to do their own thing nor to simply follow Christ without carrying on their responsibilities to their masters or employers. Christians are to be subject to every law made by man for Christ’s sake.

Peter’s audience lived a thousand miles east of Rome in what is now north-central Turkey. Like Peter, they didn’t conform to the social conventions of the day. Their social marginalization earned them abuse, scorn, slander, and malicious gossip from pagan critics. Even the name “Christian” was offensive to their enemies. Rome responded to Christian sedition and separation with persecution.

Being whipped or beaten into submission is one thing, but to submit one’s own free will to a harsh master is almost impossible to do without God’s help. Only Jesus, the sinless Son of God, could carry the heavy burden of our sin and its consequences. When He died on the cross, He took all our sins on Himself and offered us His forgiveness. Because He carried our burden, we don’t have to suffer the punishment we deserve.

Jesus said that as He suffered, so would His disciples. Every human being endures some suffering in his or her lifetime. It may be the physical suffering of sickness or injury. It may be the inner suffering caused by the death of a loved one, rejection by friends, or simply loneliness. Whatever the cause may be, we all seek to avoid it as much as possible. The Bible makes it very clear that Christians are subject to all the causes of suffering common to men, plus the added persecution that comes with taking a clear stand for Christ.

Peter calls on us to enjoy and practice the life of the Spirit, and that includes suffering for Christ’s sake just like Christ suffered and died for us. Suffering wrongly is commendable in God’s eyes, but there is no reward for those who suffer because of their own wrongdoing. The Greek word for “endures” suggests withstanding an object crashing down on a person. God gives His children this kind of fortitude.

Christ is the example for everything in life-including the reality of suffering and the Christian’s response to it. He endured and did not retaliate verbally but did what was right and committed the results to God, who judges righteously. When we, like Christ, do good and suffer for it, and take it patiently, God is pleased. It brings glory to God and has the potential of ministering to our masters and to others around us. Thanks to Christ’s submission and sacrifice, believers are redeemed, released from sin, restored to spiritual health, and returned to safety.

There are two reasons why we should not be defensive when we receive a critical, negative evaluation:

  1. If we are in the wrong, we don’t have a defense. If we are criticized for saying something which is out of order or doing something which is wrong, and the criticism is valid, any defensiveness on our part would be a rationalization at best and a lie at worst. We must simply respond by saying, “You’re right. I was wrong,” and then take steps to improve our character and behaviour.

  2. If we are right, we don’t need a defense. The Righteous Judge, who knows who we are and what we have done, will exonerate us.

For example, there once was a boy who was stricken with polio and was badly crippled in both legs. His father became very bitter over this. The father became an alcoholic and began to badly mistreat his wife and son.

Life became hell on earth for his family, but the mother and son began to attend church and both received Christ as Lord and Saviour. Their hatred and resistance to the man’s cruelty was changed to love and concern. One evening, after the father had beaten the boy badly, he realized that the boy was expressing love to him instead of fear and hatred. He was touched by that response even in his stupor. He asked the boy for the reason behind his strange response, and the boy replied, “It’s because I love you, Daddy.”

During the coming months, as he continued to abuse his wife and son, that simple message kept coming back to him, “God loves you, and so do I!” The more hatred and bitterness he directed toward his family, the more love they returned to him. One evening, he could stand it no longer. He was so convicted by the Holy Spirit through the love of his own son, he said to the boy, “I want to love you and your mother and God! How can I do that?” The boy explained how his father could come to know God through personal faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. The boy led his father to Christ. That is the potential power of “supernatural” living in relationship to harsh masters, bitter parents, and to all those outside the kingdom of God.

The people in this story are a good example of what happens when we experience God’s love. When we experience God’s love, we are free to live and grow. As we grow and share with others, we will be used by God to touch the lives of many in need of God’s healing help.

Peter encouraged his readers by mentioning that God is building something that will last for eternity. Despite persecution, the people should recognize the glory of their faith and take their God-ordained places in this new “building” of God. What is He calling you to do to help with the construction? All of us have a part to play.

To disobey even a harsh master is to sin. To obey with bitterness or anger or accommodation as our motive is also sin. Love is the only motive which is acceptable to God for any and all of our behaviour. We should follow the steps of Christ who did everything with the motive of love.

Those of us who have been saved for many years tend to lose sight of the cost of our salvation. We know the truth and we have read the gospel accounts of the crucifixion several times. We’ve heard many sermons on the cross and on salvation. We often fail to grasp what it means that Jesus took our sins onto Himself. This is because we are not following Peter’s instructions to “live unto righteousness.”

The human heart is caught in a contradiction. On one hand God has placed eternity in our hearts, leaving us with a God-shaped hole. We suffer from an inward famine. We are starving for God. On the other hand we want to be our own god, call our own shots, be in control of our lives. We are afraid to surrender. Our fear takes us on a quest to find fulfillment and satisfaction. Our fear of surrender can keep us from God. Healing comes from the wounds and the work of Jesus on the cross.

One of the greatest compliments we can receive is someone telling us, “You remind me of Jesus.” Not because we have a beard and a robe and a walking stick, but because we have a personality that compels other people to notice that in us. The highest motivation for submission is because we want to be like Christ. When we live like Jesus, it can be the catalyst that causes unbelievers to come to know Christ.

How can we do this? There are three steps:

  1. We have to have the right spirit. We have to keep a good attitude.
  2. We have to keep the right speech. We must not say things that are going to create division.
  3. We have to maintain the right service. We must keep working hard even if we are being mistreated.

How can we be like Jesus? Peter gives us several ways:

  1. Live with endurance. We are called on to put up with harsh circumstances and harsh people, to endure unfair treatment, because we follow a suffering Saviour.
  2. Forgo vengeance.
  3. Rest in confidence.
  4. Love with extravagance.
  5. Display patience.

The words to the old hymn, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” make this declaration:

I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

No turning back, no turning back.

The word behind me, the cross before me…

Though none go with me, still I will follow.


  1. Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013, pp. 1787-1788)
  2. Cedar, P.A., & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 34: James/1&2 Peter/Jude (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1984; pp. 146-150)
  3. Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible; New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)
  4. MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
  5. Lucado, M.: The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson; 2010)
  6. Marvin Williams, “He Carried Our Burden.” Retrieved from donotreply@email.rbc.org
  7. Dr. Paul Chappell, “Jesus Took Our Sins.” Retrieved from daily@dailyintheword.org
  8. Skip Heitzig, “You Remind Me of Someone.” Retrieved from Christianity.com@crosswalkmail.com
  9. Bayless Conley, “Spirit, Speech, and Service.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
  10. Steve Arterburn, “Two Changed Men.” Retrieved from Christianity.com@crosswalkmail.com
  11. Ron Moore, “Spiritual Healing.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
  12. Berni Dymet, “Saying Nothing.” Retrieved from Christianity.com@crosswalkmail.com
  13. Dr. Neil Anderson, “Why You Shouldn’t Be Defensive.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
  14. “The Cross-Suffering Part 6.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
  15. Skip Heitzig, “Living Like Jesus.” Retrieved from PastorSkip@connectwithskip.com
  16. Christine Caine, “No Turning Back.” Retrieved from n-reply@christinecaine.com
  17. Daniel Clendenin, “Making the Best of a Bad Situation: Slaves, Submit to Your Masters.” Retrieved from www.journeywithjesus.net

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s