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1 Peter 3:8-18(NIV)
Suffering for Doing Good
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
This section of 1st Peter reinforces many of this week’s themes. We are urged to live in harmony with each other, as a sign of our mutual obedience to God. The themes of humility, refraining from getting even, and pursuing peace, which we have heard in other passages, are repeated again. When we see the same themes in several different Bible writers, we know that God is showing us that these are not optional matters for a few “extra holy” people; rather, these actions and attitudes are core Christian qualities. What Peter adds to all of this is a very helpful action which can help us keep up our peaceful behavior. We are urged to know and be ready to explain “the reason for the hope that is in us (v. 15). “This means knowing why we act the way we do. This is summarized by reminding us that we suffer willingly and keep the peace because Christ suffered, “the righteous for the unrighteous”, to bring us to God. We can turn the other cheek, and turn our weapons into farm machinery, because we know how Christ has turned in his sword of judgment upon himself, so that we can live.