The Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

1 Peter 4:15-19

Entrusting Our Souls to a Faithful Creator

Peter continues his teaching about suffering as Christians in this pagan world when suddenly a horrifying thought passes his mind: “But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.”  There could be no greater shame than for a Christian to suffer justly for crimes.  Less than a century later when Christians were persecuted under Antoninus Pius for the crime of simply being Christians, Justin Martyr wrote, “We demand that the charges against Christians be investigated, and that, if these be substantiated, they be punished as they deserve” (“First Apology,” chapter 3, Ante-Nicene Fathers, 1:163).  The Church has always held that people who break just laws should be punished regardless who they are—which makes the offense all the more shameful when the culprit is one of the brethren.  However, the Apostle tells us, to suffer as a Christian is not shameful in the least (as a pagan would consider it) but a reason for glorifying God.  We have spoken to this in previous devotions; only let us affirm once again that in suffering so, we most identify ourselves with Christ. 

But Peter quickly turns from this to a more important matter: Coming Judgment.  He writes, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And ‘If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’”  It’s as if he were saying, “But enough of this!  Suffering or not, judgment is coming.”  And if I may borrow from Paul, “Set your mind on things that are above” (Colossians 3:2).  Here is the call to again embrace our pilgrim status in this world, for we will soon find ourselves before the judgment seat of Christ.  This is a matter for rejoicing.  Granted, we are scarcely saved and that only by the blood of Christ, but how shall matters go for the wicked?  It is dreadful even to consider, but then that’s how sobering coming judgment is—it places matters in the proper perspective.

And so in light of the sufferings of this world over which the Christian has so little control and in light of the coming of our Lord who shall proclaim us washed and cleansed and ready to inherit an eternal Kingdom of righteousness and justice and in light of the retribution that God will then bring upon the wicked who have profaned His holy name and persecuted his chosen ones, let us do what we can do and which no one can hinder: Entrust our souls to our faithful Creator while doing good.  What more is there to do?  And what else would you rather do?

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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