1Pe 3:17-20 “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”
Learning that God’s will is always the better way is sometimes difficult. Suffering for doing evil (in all its connotations) is not hard to understand for people who have some sense of morality. While society does not always agree on what evil is, it mostly agrees that evil should be punished. When we suffer for doing well, we may feel that we have been abandoned by God if we do not have our eyes firmly fastened on Jesus.
There are times we may be called on to suffer for well doing as an outward display of the inward dwelling of Jesus. He was absolutely sinless. He had fulfilled all the law and the prophets. He had done His Father’s will completely. Yet, He suffered the wages of sin (death) for all that the Father had given Him that we might live. No man will ever make a sacrifice or suffer injustice comparable to this (Isa 52:14). However, if we are to truly have an appreciation for all that He has, is, and will do for us, we must have some fellowship in His suffering. Being treated as evil-doers when we have done well is just such fellowship. Surely if the Just could suffer so much for the unjust, we can rejoice in God’s will that we are counted worth to have fellowship with Jesus, even in His suffering.
Jesus suffered for sins, the just (Him) for the unjust (us) for a definite purpose. He suffered so we could be presented to our Heavenly Father without spot or blemish. Out of the depths of His great love, He endured more than we can ever imagine so that we would be able to stand with Him in God’s holy presence. The just man, Jesus, died on the cross at the time of His choosing (Joh 10:17-18), then was quickened (resurrected) by the Spirit. He has ministered to His children down through the ages by the power of this Spirit that raised Him from the dead.
Through the Spirit, the gospel has been preached down through the ages. The good news of Jesus Christ can be found in the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. The Spirit ministered to those who were willfully disbelieving (disobedient) during the time that God gave to Noah to build the ark. By that ministry, there was a remnant saved from the great flood. Noah and his family were rescues because Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord! Notice, at no time did God tell Noah he was delivered from the flood because he built the ark. He was never told he was saved because he had done a good job raising his children. He was not told his family was spared because he had been faithful to his wife. While we might suppose all of the above is true of Noah, he was delivered because he found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
When the Spirit minsters to us, even if we are in prison (literally or figuratively), may we remember it is because we have found grace in the eyes of the Lord!