“But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”
“But” introduces a contrast. In contrast to the time when disaster hit and we fell apart, we now “rejoice.” Instead of thinking it strange that we suffer, we can now rejoice in the suffering. We do not rejoice in trial itself. We do not rejoice in the reversal but in the Lord who never changes.
The joy of these Asia Minor Christians was not in persecution itself but in the fact that they were able to suffer for the Lord. They took a stand for the Lord.
to the extent
We rejoice in accordance with the degree that we suffer with Christ. To the degree that we share Christ’s suffering to that degree we rejoice.
The degree of our devotion to the Lord is measured by our willingness to pay the price for Him.
Persecution is a test of our faith and a test of the reality of our faith. Only those who are willing to suffering will take risks that will put them jeopardy. These are those who truly love the Lord. Their convictions go beyond convenience orientation.
The Lord uses both the rod and the staff on us. The staff comforts us. The rod comforts us as well but the rod disciplines us so we return to fellowship with the Lord.
Ps. 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
We now keep on rejoicing (present tense) through anything that may come our way. No trial can daunt the dynamics of our lives. To the contrary, we can have joy in trial. This was the testimony of Paul and his colleagues.
Acts 5:40 “And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”