1 Peter 3:17-22
For the next three weeks we’re going to examine three theological questions that verses 17-22 present. 1. Will God allow Christians to suffer? vv.17-18, 2. Did Jesus preach in Hell? V.19, and 3. Does Baptism save you? v.21.
Will God allow Christians to suffer? vv.17-18
Maybe you’ve heard all your life that “God will not give you more than you can handle.” Contrary to popular belief, this is not found in the Bible. The only passage in the bible that is close to this is:
1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
It refers to temptation from sin, not suffering. Listen to what Paul tells the Corinthians in
2 Cor. 1:8-9 “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”
So the answer is yes, but why?
Why would God allow suffering? Christ suffered to bring us to God, we suffer to solely be brought to God.
Look again at v.18. at the phrase “that He might bring us to God.” The answer is yes, He (God) will allow Christians to suffer for a purpose! What is the purpose? To bring us to God. To draw us closer to God.
“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”― C.S. Lewis
Satan wants us to view suffering as a way of separation from God.
God wants us to cry out to Him through our suffering.
How can a loving God allow such pain happen to good people?
  1. We are sinful and allow sinfulness to consume us. Sometimes we pay the price for our sin. As Christians will not be condemned in Christ Jesus, but we may suffer the consequences of our sin. To show the seriousness of sin
  2.  We are not good people by nature. The only way we are good is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. To show the sacrifice of the Savior
  3.  It would be unloving for God to leave us to ourselves instead of disciplining us. It would be like a parent allowing their child to play in the road because it seems fair. To show the satisfaction that comes with being His child
  4. God is more concerned with our eternal condition than He is with our temporal comfort! If you want comfort, you don’t want Christ! To show the sufficiency of Christ       J
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” J James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Why would Peter pen this? The Holy Spirit inspired Peter to write these words to encourage a people who were awaiting death for their faith in Christ. He is saying that Jesus understands, He too experienced suffering/death, your actions are just, Jesus is worth it! We may never experience this depth of persecution, but if you’re living for Christ, you will experience some forms of it.
Four Dangers to Avoid Concerning Suffering
  1. Thinking God is not good. (You’ll stop running to Him if you doubt His goodness.)        
  2. Thinking that God doesn’t care. (If you’re not being disciplined, I’d be worried.)
  3. Thinking that you are entitled to a life of comfort.
  4. Thinking that you are above suffering.