• Jack Selcher

Suffering to Victory

Sometimes we’ll suffer for doing what’s right. Thereby, we imitate Christ who suffered because He obeyed His Father’s will. His suffering resulted in ultimate victory and glory. So will ours.

Although He was innocent, Jesus died once to pay the penalty for the guilty. His suffering made unrighteous people like us acceptable to a righteous God who judged our sins on that cross. The best way to thank Him is to obey Him. Even if it brings suffering.

Death didn’t have the last word with Jesus. He submitted to the sting of death for everyone. When death stung Him, like a honeybee, it stung itself to death. People killed Him, but God raised Him to life.

In the Spirit, Jesus went and preached to the fallen angels of Genesis 6:1–4, 2 Peter 2:4–5, and Jude 6–7. He proclaimed His victory to them. He announced their power had been broken. Through faith in Him, we share in His victory.

Verse 20 describes the disobedience of these fallen angels. Jewish literature blamed the flood on them. By contrast, Noah was a righteous man. The flood demonstrated God’s judgment and mercy. Verses 20–21 emphasize His mercy. God’s patient waiting is based on Genesis 6:3. In that verse and 2 Peter 3:5–9, God’s patience presupposes His judgment will eventually fall.

We enter Jesus’ victory through repentance, faith, and baptism. The resurrection following Jesus’ death is the basis of our forgiveness. It proved God was satisfied with Jesus’ payment for our sins. The resurrection makes repentance, faith, and regeneration possible. Our baptism is the seal that our faith is authentic.

Noah experienced victory through the “baptism” of the flood. It delivered him and a few others into a new world. Baptism is part of the repentance, faith, baptism response to the gospel that the Lord seeks.

The suffering Christ of verse 18 is the exalted Christ of verse 22. He rose to supreme privilege and sovereignty in the universe. By faith, we’re united to Him. We share in His victory (Romans 8:16–17). Experiencing unjust suffering for the cause of Christ demonstrates we’re on the road to glory.

Those who persecute us for Christ’s sake won’t ultimately prevail. In the end, they’ll be crushed. When they persecute us, they give us reason to rejoice. Suffering for Jesus now means glory later. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV).

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