18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God (1 Peter 2).
The phrase “finds favor” (in both verses, 19 and 20) is actually just one word in the Greek—the word “grace,” so that perhaps a better translation might be: “This is due to grace ….” Thus, a paraphrase might be something like: “Here is an example of God’s grace at work in your life ….” This puts the emphasis, not after the good deed, but before it, as it should be. The idea is this: we do not do good deeds in order to find favor with God; we do good deeds because we’ve already found it! We already have favor because of Christ—which is what leads us to doing good deeds.
The idea is not for believers to do good works so that we might find more of God’s grace. No, it is to show that we already have His grace through revealing its work in our lives through the doing of good deeds. The word “credit” in verse 20 is yet another word used only by Peter in the Bible, and it comes from the word “calling,” which is often used for believers, who are a people who have been “called” of God. Thus, a paraphrase might be: “For what kind of calling is it when you sin …” (meaning, that’s not much of a calling!).
In other words, a Christian’s true calling and proof of grace in his life is evident in a glorious trifecta of events—not only when he “does what is right,” but when he then must “suffer for doing what is right,” and then also when he “endures” that suffering with “patience.” This is simply what genuine Christians do, because this is what grace does in our lives.
Lord, thank You for Your grace in our lives! Help us This Day to manifest this grace through good deeds—and if we should suffer for them, to do so with patience. Amen.