“If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Peter 4:14).
The indwelling Holy Spirit allows us to rejoice, no matter how greatly we suffer or are persecuted.
One of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of the past half century has been the discovery of the DNA molecule, which carries unique and essential genetic information about all living beings. The most well-known practical application of DNA has been the “fingerprinting” technique in which genetic information from one DNA sample is compared with that of another. If the information matches, it’s highly probable, but not absolutely certain, that the samples identify the same individual.
While discoveries about DNA’s ability to more precisely determine physical identity have been newsworthy, God long ago established His infallible truth regarding spiritual identity. The apostle Paul gives us the basic criterion by which we can know if we are believers: “However you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (Rom. 8:9). This reinforces Jesus’ teaching to Nicodemus about being born again (John 3:3-6). Therefore, all genuine believers will know the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence.
The Spirit’s presence in our lives is one final reason we have to rejoice in trials and sufferings. Peter calls the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of glory” because as deity the Spirit has glory as an essential attribute. Although that glory doesn’t manifest itself today as it did in the Old Testament (e.g., the cloud in the tabernacle), the Spirit’s indwelling a Christian is nonetheless real for any who are undergoing a trial.
First Peter 4:14 is referring to a special grace that goes beyond the normal indwelling of the Spirit. It is much like the extraordinary power that Stephen realized before and during his stoning (see Acts 6:15; 7:55-60). God’s Spirit gave him amazing composure and strength and lifted him above normal pain and fear. The Holy Spirit also blesses us with abundant grace, specially suited to our times of need. Therefore, it should be hard for us to react with any attitude but rejoicing, no matter how difficult our trials.
Suggestions for Prayer
Thank God for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, who ministers daily in your life.
For Further Study
Read Exodus 3:1-6.
- What was unique about the bush?
- How did Moses react to God’s glory?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.