Preaching on 1 Peter 4.12-19 last night, Andrew Katay highlighted the highly sophisticated theological distinction Peter draws in v. 15:
But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, a criminal, or even as a mischief-maker.
That is, there’s a difference between suffering because you’re treading in Christ’s footsteps — experiencing the same opposition and hostility he experienced — and suffering because you’re a jerk.
If I had a dollar for all the times I’ve said to myself, ‘Well done! You’re suffering for being a Christian’, when I was just being a jerk…
I’d have a lot of dollars.