1 Peter 3:18 (NKJV) “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring [a]us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,”
Underground churches are common in countries where persecution is rife. Where do these believers get their boldness from? Why do they pursue their faith knowing fully well the persecution they’ll have to face? Let’s quickly dive into what Peter means in this scripture.
Peter’s intention in 1 Peter 3 is to help us arm ourselves with the faith to suffer for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, if God wills it. Yes, suffer. Many new believers are of the understanding that when they get baptized and saved, persecution will cease to exist. That belief is contradictory to Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:11 and 10:22. Believers in Jesus Christ, we are called to bear witness in a hostile world just as our Lord did.
Jesus Christ provided the perfect example. He suffered not for His own sins—for He was perfect—but He died for ours. The righteous (Jesus) for the unrighteous (you and me). He bore the punishment for our wrongdoing, faithlessness, disloyalty, and rejection toward God. Just so our relationship with Abba Father—which was destroyed in the garden of Eden—could be restored. What amazing love!
As we read about the ongoing persecution of Christians in Afghanistan, we are reminded of this honorable call to suffer for Christ. The greatest encouragement we have to prepare ourselves for suffering is knowing that Jesus—the greatest, most loving, caring, truthful, holy man that ever lived—experienced the very same thing.
Precious saints, if you are experiencing persecution for your faith in Jesus, stand firm. Arm yourselves with the purpose of Christ. The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. Let’s follow His example.