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Peter’s Final Words. 1 Peter 5:10-14

14/12/2018

Peter’s Closing Words

Text. 1 Peter 5:10-14
So we come to the very last paragraph in Peter’s letter to the suffering church. He’s going to sum up everything he has written in just a few words, and and the first sentence of this is a prayer. It’s an interesting prayer, for you would expect Peter to pray that their suffering be removed from them. That’s what I would pray for others, especially for fellow Christians. I would ask God to remove all suffering from them. But Peter doesn’t pray like that. He prays that their suffering would be SHORT and would be BEARABLE and would be beneficial FOR THEM! That’s because…

1. God Uses Our Suffering for Our Good. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
That seems strange doesn’t it? When one has experienced the pain that comes after the surgeon has wielded his knife, the pain is tempered by the knowledge that he has to cut into you, to wound you, in order to heal. When we suffer, our heavenly Father uses it for his glory and our growth – our betterment. There are two sides to this providential work of God:-
WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US:-

  • God is GRACIOUS towards us. All grace comes from God, He is the very fountain of love and grace toward men and women. Through his grace he saves us, he keeps us, he restrains our sufferings.
  • God has CHOSEN us and has a Specific DESTINY mapped out for us. He called us for a purpose. We were created to glorify God and to enjoy his presence, and in calling us, we are certain of his purpose in life and destiny. We are called into a state of grace to be glorified with him! Romans 8:29

All of these gracious acts of God on our behalf were obtained for us by Christ Jesus – but even though God has been so gracious to us, we are not in any way guaranteed a life that is free of trouble and suffering.

WHAT HE IS DOING IN US:- Through Suffering he is making us better Christians:-

  • He is PERFECTING us. He is making us complete Christians. God is using OUR sufferings to make us what he wants us to be!
  • He is ESTABLISHING us. He is confirming us in the faith.
  • He is STRENGTHENING us. In 2 Timothy 4, Paul is in prison, facing the end of his life. He has been almost abandoned – only Luke is with him. Demos has forsaken him, his fellow workers have all been dispatched to minister in churches. He is in prison, he is cold, he is aware of his enemies. But the Lord is with him to strengthen him! He writes, 16 At my first defence no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me
  • He is SETTLING us. There is great peace in understanding this aspect of Christian suffering. It means that our suffering is not purposeless. We know that there is a reason for it, and we can settle down and be content and rest in God’s perfect will for us. 2 Corinthians 1:3

This is Peter’s prayer for his readers – and he knows that God is well capable of answering that prayer!

2. God Requires and Accepts Our Praise. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
After prayer, comes praise! Peter’s doxology, a hymn of praise unto God reminds us of the ultimate consummation of time, and the victory that is in Christ:-

  • His Immutable Blessedness. The attributes of God for ever and ever. To him be glory and dominion In God dwells all:- Power. He is omnipotent! All authority belongs to Him He rules in glory.  Sovereignty, for He is the king of kings!
  • His Blessed Immutableness. He is for ever and ever! His blessedness has neither beginning nor end, he is from everlasting to everlasting.
    To such a hymn of praise Peter can only shout Amen!

3. Closing. 12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. 13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son. 14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

  • Silvanus. Silvanus was a Gentile, and it’s likely that Peter’s readers would have been ethnic Jews, converts to Christ. They would have been deeply suspicious of a courier who was a gentile – so Peter reassures them that they will find that Silvanus is a faithful brother, a man to be trusted.
  • Salvation. Peter’s letter had been brief – after all it’s only taken us a year to read through it! It was short, but to the point. Peter writes with a purpose, and it is to reassure them that they are standing in the true grace of God. Let’s remind ourselves of some of those exhortations:- 1:3, 2:9-10, 2:21-25, 3:18, 4:1 etc etc. The whole epistle is sprinkled with gospel! If we can be truly convinced of the certainty and rightness of the faith, totally abiding and resting in Christ’s finished work for us on the cross, our sufferings can be kept in perspective. Focus on Christ! Hebrews 12:1
  • Solidarity.
    • Between local assemblies. The church at Babylon, from where Peter is writing, send greetings – as does Mark, the evangelist. It’s good for such fraternal relationships to exist between churches in different places. We are to be supportive of one another in the gospel, and to pray for each other.
    • Between local Christians. But within the local church we are to have close relationships too. Peter exhorts to a ‘kiss of peace’ – when what we sometimes get from our fellow believers is nearer to the ‘kiss of death!’ The cultural norm in the ANE was to greet one’s friends and relations with a sanctified kiss – for us in NI, the equivalent might be a firm handshake! Whatever the symbolism, (Kiss, hug, handshake) we must have a warm attitude of peaceful love for each other. It was the kiss of peace, the kiss of grace!

So, Peter closes his letter, with a fervent prayer, with praise to God and with a challenge to Christian solidarity.

© BobMcEvoy

From → 1 Peter, Bible Study

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