The Sufferings of Christ
1 Peter 2:24
What great encouragement to patience and fortitude is afforded the followers of Jesus, by the apostle's contrast of the light and transient afflictions of the present time, with the eternal weight of glory reserved for them in heaven! How forcible the argument which he draws from the approaching scenes of another world, to urge Christians in this, to a life of holiness and self-denial! How vivid and terrible his picture of the dissolution of nature by the great conflagration! Imagine the heavens wrapped in dissolving flames, and the elements melting to the centre of the globe. The victorious and inextinguishable fire towers to the empyrean; the magnificent palace of creation is lost in the smoke of its own burning; and the ear is stunned, and the soul is horrified, by the crash of its final fall. "Seeing then, that all these things must be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness; looking for, and basting unto the coming of the day of God;" "using all diligence to make your calling and election sure;" "that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless;" that "so an abundant entrance may be ministered unto you, into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!"
Such, substantially, is the argument. But the apostle employs another; the Christian's obligation to imitate Christ, suffering for him as he suffered for us, with the same fortitude and resignation, though not to the same extent, nor for the same purpose. It is in this connection he uses the language of the text: "Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, ...
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