“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”
Yet if anyone suffers
The “if” recognizes in the Greek that those who suffer are Christians. God designs all suffering for the Christian for a blessing. If we suffer for our sin, God designs that adversity for a blessing when He restores us to fellowship. The purpose of the discipline of the Christian is to bring him back to blessing (He 12:6).
God provides a unique blessing for us for suffering in time because there will be no suffering in eternity. God cannot show his unique love for us in a trial because there will be no trial there. He can only show blessing in suffering in time.
as a Christian
The “as” puts the Christian in strong contrast to the four terms used to designate criminals of the previous verse. We can suffer for our sins, or we can suffer by representing the name of Christ.
In the entire Bible, the name “Christian” occurs only here and Acts 11:26; 26:28. The term “Christian” means “Christ ones.” We are those who belong to Christ.
Acts 26:28, “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.’” Agrippa used this name as a term of reproach. Today “Christian” is a relatively meaningless term. We call the United States or Canada “Christian” nations.
Christians are those who belong to Christ.
Are you a Christian or just a Baptist, Presbyterian, or Catholic? A Christian is not one who has been confirmed or baptized or joined a church. This is a popular misconception today. A Christian is someone who has invited Jesus Christ into the personal experience of his heart and life. He does this by trusting in the finished work of Christ for suffering for your sin. When he does this, he will change your viewpoint on life. He will give you different desires.
If I were to ask you, “Are you a Christian?” what would you say? Yes or no. You might say, “I don’t know.” Suppose I said, “Are you a citizen of the United States, yes or no?” You know for sure whether you are or not. If I say, “Do you belong to Christ?” and you answer, “Well, I don’t know. I suppose I do.” That is a good sign that you are not a Christian. A genuine Christian knows that he is a Christian (1 Jn 5:11-13). Why not make sure today? Go to our URL site on how to become a Christian: How to Become a Christian.