“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” 1 Pet. 4:16
This is one of the very few places in the New Testament where this description of believers is employed. There are only three. In the first, we are told where it originated: "The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:26). It would seem that it was given to them by the men of Antioch, and it was not necessarily a term of reproach, but one used to mark the fact that they were followers of Christ. The second is where Agrippa said to Paul, "With but little persuasion thou wouldst fain make me a Christian" (Acts 26:28). This shows that by this time it had probably become a general term. The third and last time is here, where Peter employed it in a sense that shows that in some cases it brought suffering to be known as a Christian. The Apostle says two things in view of that fact. The first is that no shame is attached to such suffering. As he wrote this he was probably remembering the time when he and his fellow-apostles left the council of the Jews, in actual physical agony from the stripes which had been laid on them but "rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name" (Acts 5:41). The second word is an injunction: "Let him glorify God in this name." That is more than glorying in the name. It is so living worthily of all it means as to glorify God. If a man is known as a Christian, and does not live as one, he dishonors God. To bear the name is to take a responsibility, a great and glorious one, but none the less a very solemn one.