1 Peter 4:19 MEANING

1 Peter 4:19
(19) Wherefore.--Because the beginning of the judgment--the judgment of the Christians--is so light in comparison with the fearful end when it lights on the disobedient and wicked.

Let them that suffer according to the will of God.--Our version omits an important little word: Let them that suffer also (or, Let even them that suffer) according to the will of God. The stress is on "suffer"--i.e., be put to death. And the clause, "according to the will of God," seems not intended to mean "in a godly and unblameable manner," as opposed to the "suffering as a murderer" (1 Peter 4:15); rather, it brings out that such a death is no accident, no sudden calamity, but in strict accordance with God's prearranged design. (Comp. 1 Peter 3:17 : "if the will of God will it.") Thus it harmonises with the following: "faithful Creator," "commit their souls."

Commit the keeping of their souls.--The beautiful verb rendered "commit the keeping of" is a technical term for depositing a deed, or sum of money, or other valuable, with any one in trust. In the literal sense it occurs in Luke 12:48; 2 Timothy 1:12 : in a metaphorical sense, of doctrines committed in trust to the safe keeping of the Episcopate, in 1 Timothy 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:14; 2 Timothy 2:2 : of leaving persons whom you love in trust, in Acts 14:23; Acts 20:32. But the words which St. Peter probably has ringing in his ears when he thus writes are the words of our Lord on the cross (where the same verb is used): "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit" (Luke 23:46). "Their souls" might, perhaps, with still more propriety, be here translated their lives. The connection will then be: "Consider the mildness of these trials compared with the terrors overhanging the sinful. Even if the worst should come to the worst, and you must die a martyr's death, it is but the execution of God's plan for you. View your life as a deposit: lay it confidently in His hands, to be returned to you again when the time comes: and you will find Him faithful to what a Creator ought to be."

A faithful Creator.--The word "faithful" is used in reference to the "deposit" placed in His hands; and the title "Creator" seems to be chosen here rather than "Father," or the like, because creation of the soul includes not only the giving of its existence but the shaping of its destiny. "The will of God," in accordance with which they "suffer," is part of the act of creation. The noble expression, however, contains the idea that the act of creation imposes duties and responsibilities upon the Creator. It is conceivable that some powerful being (not our God) might create, and be careless of the happiness or of the moral welfare or of the mutual relations of his creatures. Such a creator would be "unfaithful:" we should have a right to expect differently of him. But God is a "faithful Creator." "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him."

In well doing.--In the Greek these words come emphatically last. (Comp. 1 Peter 3:17.)

Verse 19. - Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God; rather, let them also that suffer. St. Peter sums up his exhortation; he returns to the thought of 1 Peter 3:17, "It is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well-doing, than for evil-doing." In the hour of suffering, as well as in times of prosperity, we are in the hands of a merciful and loving Father; we are to learn submission, not because the suffering is inevitable, but because it is according to his will, and his will is our sanctification and salvation. Commit the keeping of their souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator; rather, as in the Revised Version, commit their souls in well-doing unto a faithful Creator. The conjunction "as" must be omitted, not being found in any of the best manuscripts. The word rendered "Creator" (κτίστης) Occurs nowhere else in the Greek Testament. God is our Creator, the Father of spirits, He gave the spirit; to him it returneth. We must imitate our dying Lord, and, like him, commit our souls to the keeping of our heavenly Father as a deposit which may be left with perfect confidence in the hands of a faithful Creator (see 2 Timothy 1:12). There is an evident reference here to our Lord's words upon the cross (Luke 23:46; Psalm 31:5). St. Peter adds, "in well-doing." The Christian's faith must bring forth the fruits of holy living; even in the midst of suffering he must "be careful to maintain good works."

4:12-19 By patience and fortitude in suffering, by dependence on the promises of God, and keeping to the word the Holy Spirit hath revealed, the Holy Spirit is glorified; but by the contempt and reproaches cast upon believers, he is evil spoken of, and is blasphemed. One would think such cautions as these were needless to Christians. But their enemies falsely charged them with foul crimes. And even the best of men need to be warned against the worst of sins. There is no comfort in sufferings, when we bring them upon ourselves by our own sin and folly. A time of universal calamity was at hand, as foretold by our Saviour, Mt 24:9,10. And if such things befall in this life, how awful will the day of judgment be! It is true that the righteous are scarcely saved; even those who endeavour to walk uprightly in the ways of God. This does not mean that the purpose and performance of God are uncertain, but only the great difficulties and hard encounters in the way; that they go through so many temptations and tribulations, so many fightings without and fears within. Yet all outward difficulties would be as nothing, were it not for lusts and corruptions within. These are the worst clogs and troubles. And if the way of the righteous be so hard, then how hard shall be the end of the ungodly sinner, who walks in sin with delight, and thinks the righteous is a fool for all his pains! The only way to keep the soul well, is, to commit it to God by prayer, and patient perseverance in well-doing. He will overrule all to the final advantage of the believer.Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God,.... This is the conclusion made from the foregoing premises; that seeing the state and condition of the saints in this world, at worst, and which is but for a time, is infinitely preferable to the dreadful state and condition of disobedient persons, ungodly men, and sinners, and which will endure to all eternity; they should not think strange of their sufferings, or complain of them, but patiently endure them; and especially when they consider that these are not the effects of chance, or merely owing to the malice and wickedness of men, or to any second cause only; but they are the will of God, are by his appointment, under his direction, and by his order, and for their good, and his own glory; and therefore it becomes them to

commit the keeping of their souls to him, in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator: and which is not only their duty, but their privilege: and the sense is, that when they are called to suffer for Christ, they should commit their cause to God, who, as he is the Creator, is the Governor of the universe, and will judge righteously; and when they are even called to lay down their lives for his sake, they shall not lose them; though their bodies are killed, they may and should commit their souls, when departing from their bodies, into the hands of God; as Stephen, the first martyr, committed his into the hands of Christ, in imitation of him; where he that made them, as he is able to keep them, will faithfully preserve them in happiness and glory, till the resurrection morn, when their bodies shall be raised and reunited to them: and this is to be performed, in "well doing"; for which they suffer, and in which they should continue to the last; not rendering evil for evil, but blessing; and in imitation of Christ, and his servant Stephen, pray for their worst enemies, and wish them all the good, and do them all the acts of kindness that lie in their power.

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