1 Peter – Chapter Two XXXVIII

by Ed Urzi

“For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully” (1 Peter 2:19).

The hallmark of an exceptional athlete is often reflected in his or her ability to overcome adversity. Such athletes frequently exhibit a strong work ethic, along with the mental toughness and commitment to excellence that serves to elevate the play of those around them. They take responsibility for their performance and accept defeat without making excuses as they work to overcome the challenges they encounter.

In a similar vein, we typically hold great admiration for those who persevere through difficult situations. Those who choose to stand firm and never give up are those who often earn our greatest respect. If we seek to emulate those qualities in our spiritual lives, we may be called upon to endure unjust treatment as a result. Thus, it is commendable in God’s sight to endure undeserved suffering as we pursue His will for our lives.

That recognition enables us to persevere when others treat us in an unfair, unjust, or unwarranted manner. If we honor God in response to such treatment, our conduct will be honorable in His sight, even if others don’t see it that way.

This passage also furnishes the right motive for responding in this manner: “because of conscience toward God.” In God’s view, it is commendable to act in accordance with our conscience, even if our understanding of His will is limited. For example, some may respond in a retaliatory or vindictive manner when others mistreat them. But if we rely upon God’s empowerment to demonstrate the qualities of patience and self-control in those situations, our conduct becomes virtuous in His sight.

In addition, we should also recognize that nothing goes to waste in God’s economy, including the unjust treatment we receive from others. The New Testament book of 2 Corinthians provides us with an encouraging reminder in that regard: “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (2 Corinthians 4:17 TLB).

The following commentator thus provides us with a summary application of these concepts for modern-day readers of this epistle…

“Favor with God is found when an employee, treated unjustly, accepts his poor treatment with faith in God’s sovereign care, rather than responding in anger, hostility, discontent, pride, or rebellion (cf. Mt 5:11).” (1)

(1) John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), 1 Pe 2:19.