16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
Christians often have to endure society’s rejection, ostracism, violence and even official persecution. The unbelieving world hates every genuine Christian. Jesus had forewarned, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 13:13; cf. Matthew 5:11; 10:22; 24:9; Philippians 1:29).
Should a Christian feel embarrassed or weakened or abandoned by the opposition and troubles that he suffers? The verse for our meditation today tells us that the Christian who is afflicted has no reason whatsoever to be embarrassed, but has every reason to exult in God and praise Him.
All have troubles, but it makes a very great difference when one suffers for his faith in Christ. The man who bears sorrow for the Lord is an honourable man in the sight of God. He has no reason to be ashamed of his sufferings because as a Christian, his life is marked by devotion to Christ and His righteousness. He is not persecuted for the evil he has committed, but for the devotion to Christ that he exhibits.
Why is it that a Christian who suffers should not be ashamed? Because his suffering proves that he is a lover of Christ, His truth and His righteousness. Because his suffering is not meted out for a crime that he has committed, but for doing Christ’s will. Because his suffering is inflicted on him not for a mean and damnable thing he has done, but for the noble and blessed cause of exalting Christ, his Saviour.
Ironically, a genuine Christian often suffers for his actions in spite of the purest motives that proceed from his love for the blessed Master. Nevertheless in his suffering, he shall be the brightest of examples that others can imitate. So, the suffering Christian is exhorted to glorify God – “but let him glorify God on this behalf.” Even under suffering circumstances, a Christian’s duty is to glorify God (cf. John 21:18-19). He must rejoice and worship God, like Paul and Silas who sang and praised God in the Philippian jail (cf. Acts 16:22-25; 1 Peter 4:13). When the suffering Christian boldly clings onto his faith in his Saviour and testifies of Him to those who ask about his faith, he glorifies God (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). He who remains faithful to God even in the midst of suffering truly glorifies God (cf. 1 Peter 2:12; 4:14).