4:12 {11} Beloved, think it not {d} strange {12} concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

(11) Because that cross is joined with the sincere profession of religion, the apostle fitly repeats what he touched on before, warning us not to be troubled at persecutions and afflictions, as at a new and strange thing.

(d) As though some new thing had befallen you, which you never thought of before.

(12) The first reason: because the Lord does not mean to confuse us with his fire (as it were) but to purge us of our impurities and make us perfect.

4:12 The fiery trial. Persecution.

As though some strange thing happened unto you. Christians, with the world against them, must expect to endure such things.

4:12 Wonder not at the burning which is among you - This is the literal meaning of the expression. It seems to include both martyrdom itself, which so frequently was by fire, and all the other sufferings joined with, or previous to, it; which is permitted by the wisdom of God for your trial. Be not surprised at this.

4:12-19 By patience and fortitude in suffering, by dependence on the promises of God, and keeping to the word the Holy Spirit hath revealed, the Holy Spirit is glorified; but by the contempt and reproaches cast upon believers, he is evil spoken of, and is blasphemed. One would think such cautions as these were needless to Christians. But their enemies falsely charged them with foul crimes. And even the best of men need to be warned against the worst of sins. There is no comfort in sufferings, when we bring them upon ourselves by our own sin and folly. A time of universal calamity was at hand, as foretold by our Saviour, Mt 24:9,10. And if such things befall in this life, how awful will the day of judgment be! It is true that the righteous are scarcely saved; even those who endeavour to walk uprightly in the ways of God. This does not mean that the purpose and performance of God are uncertain, but only the great difficulties and hard encounters in the way; that they go through so many temptations and tribulations, so many fightings without and fears within. Yet all outward difficulties would be as nothing, were it not for lusts and corruptions within. These are the worst clogs and troubles. And if the way of the righteous be so hard, then how hard shall be the end of the ungodly sinner, who walks in sin with delight, and thinks the righteous is a fool for all his pains! The only way to keep the soul well, is, to commit it to God by prayer, and patient perseverance in well-doing. He will overrule all to the final advantage of the believer.