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1 Peter 2:20: For What Credit Is It If, When You Sin And Are Beaten For It, You Endure? But If When You Do Good And Suffer For It You Endure, This Is A Gracious Thing In The Sight Of God.

1 Peter 2:20
[20] For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. (ESV)

This verse is difficult for us because we are likely to be offended that it says we could be beaten for doing something wrong. Here is where we need to understand the culture of the people whom Peter was writing to. They could well have been servants. Servants could have beaten. Sometimes they were beaten because they did something wrong. Sometimes they endured beatings unjustly, at the hands of an evil master.

Shockingly, to our current cultural understandings, Peter does not condemn the unjust beatings, much less beatings in general. What he says is significant. He says that if we get beaten for doing wrong, so be it. We have earned it. If we are beaten although we were doing good, God sees this injustice and it is a gracious thing in his sight. He will ultimately reward us for suffering well.

I am sure that as the Apostle Peter was writing this he was reminded of hearing Jesus say these words: "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account" (Matthew 5:11, ESV). Peter himself would be no stranger to suffering unjustly. He was eventually put to death for his faith. Tradition tells us that he was crucified upside down.

Take a look again at the first part of the above verse. Peter mentions this idea of credit. Consider that God is keeping score. He will credit to your "reward account" eternal blessing. This has nothing to do with our salvation. That is secured by faith in what Christ did for us. God will reward his children in the next life for how they have served in this one. 

Are you building up good credit in heaven? God is not only a righteous judge, he is a rewarder of those who love him. Laying up treasure in heaven sometimes means enduring hardship well. May God help you to do this. It is hard.