“And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?”
if you become followers of what is good?
“Follower” means to burn with zeal. A “follower” is one who deeply commits to something and is therefore zealous. He is an enthusiast. Paul calls himself “zealous.”
Ac 22:3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.”
Zealots were uncompromising devotees. They were fanatics who swore to liberate their native land from oppression by every possible means. They prepared themselves to die if necessary.
The “Zealots” was a name applied to an extreme subdivision of the Pharisees who were bitterly hostile to the Romans. Josephus refers to them as the “fourth sect of Jewish philosophy” (in addition to the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes). Judas of Galilee founded the Zealots (Acts 5:37). After his rebellion in a.d. 6, the Zealots fostered the fires of revolution that broke out again in A.D. 66. This led to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Simon, one of the Apostles, belonged to this sect (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13).
“Become” – to become something that you were not previously. Christians in Asia Minor were not followers of the good but now Peter asks them to become zealots for the good. He wanted them to suffer for a “good” testimony not for some reckless action.
Tit 2:14 ”Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
What harm can come to those who know the Lord should suffering occur? Note the qualification “if.” God promises exemption, not from difficulty, but from “harm.” Zeal for good robs opponents of justification of their wrong treatment of us.
God prevents our enemies from going beyond his providential concurrence of what will happen to us. Nothing happens outside his permissive will. He turns everything to good account.
Gen. 45:5 “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.”
Nothing happens to us without God’s permission.
We can rest in God’s providential care for us when we do God’s will (“good”). God gives us exemption from a tragic testimony when we walk with the Lord. In this, God prevents our enemies to step outside his sovereign permission. No hurt can come to us without his permissive will. He turns everything to his purpose.
Are you resting in God’s providential care for you? Why do you churn if you trust God’s sovereignty?