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A letter from the apostle Peter

The suffering of Christ vs the suffering of Christians

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18)

The apostle Peter compares the suffering of his readers with the suffering of Christ. In verse 17, Peter stated that “it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” In verse 18, he continues: “For Christ also suffered once…” There is a certain similarity in both kinds of suffering. As Jesus told his disciples: “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). This is comforting, since Jesus perfectly knows what his children are going through.

But there are some crucial differences between the suffering of Christ and what Christians are going through. Jesus Christ was perfectly righteous. Believers are not. His suffering was a sacrifice of atonement, that paid for the sins of humanity. No human suffering can ever do that. And it does not need to, since Jesus paid the price for sin once and for all. His death was sufficient to “bring us to God”. Our own suffering can’t add anything to that.

Thank you Jesus, for your suffering, death and resurrection!

What does it mean for you that Jesus died for your sins?

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Grietje Commelin

Grietje studied theology and mastered in Bible Translation. Next to being a mother, she supports GlobalRize by writing bible reflections and other content for GlobalRize.

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