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Evil, Suffering, and the Cross

Rev. Michael Calvert, Ph.D., July 19, 2020
Part of the The Church Under the Cross series.

I pray that the Lord has blessed and encouraged you with our recent series of messages on ‘ The Church Under the Cross.’ I am continually amazed at the way our Father speaks to us through the Scriptures in such powerful and timely way.

This Lord’s Day our text will be 1 Peter 4:12-13 (be sure to take note of the full context set forth in verses 12-19). The subject of the message will be, ‘ Evil, Suffering, and the Cross.’

As you reflect upon these verses you’ll discover that the Apostle Peter is seeking to encourage his readers in the midst of their frequent tribulations. In fact, this subject of affliction is sprinkled throughout the letter. The first mention of it occurs in 1:1 where Peter addresses his readers as those who are “ elect exiles of the Dispersion” (ESV). This odd phrase has reference to the various outbreaks of persecution that scattered Jewish Christians through the Roman Empire in the mid first century (1 Peter was likely written in AD 63). And then, the subject of suffering is addressed at least nine more times in the epistle!

Chapter 4 contains two interesting and admittedly perplexing references to Christian tribulations. In 4:1 Peter calls upon believers to consider the way that our Lord suffered, and then to “ arm yourselves with the same way of thinking.” Then, in 4:13 Peter declares that we who are redeemed “ share Christ’s sufferings.”

Of course, there are some obvious issues that these passages bring to the surface. First among them is the link between our Lord’s afflictions, which culminated in His crucifixion, and those of His Church.

On Sunday, we will take our initial look at 4:12-13 before returning to it again on July 26.