- Vs. 5-7 Humble
- Vs. 8-9 Heedful
- Vs. 10-11 Hopeful
- Vs. 12-14 Faithful
We have finally reached the end of this amazing letter of Peter to the persecuted believers scattered abroad. He wrote to them about how their “Great Salvation” ought to have enabled them to be demonstrating to an unbelieving world. The difference between the saved and the unsaved is that the believer has a “Living Hope” and the world exists living under a hope that is enslaved to favorable situations and circumstances. One of the things that age automatically brings you to is the bursting of the bubble that is best described by the words: “This can’t happen to me”! When we are younger we live under the illusion that difficulties and adversity always happens to someone else but eventually we all become that “SOMEONE”! At the end of his letter Peter concludes with three important admonishments on glorifying God during difficult seasons if the believers were to remain, Faithful ! Humble, Heedful, and Hopeful!
- Vs. 5-7 Humble
Vs.5 Peter had already admonished believers to be:
- Submissive to government authorities—2:13-17
- Submissive to their masters as slaves—2:18-25
- Submissive to their husbands as wives—3:1-7
Now at the start of the closing of this letter Peter tells the younger believers to submit themselves to their elders. In the Greek the words “Younger people” doesn’t refer merely to individuals but rather to an organization or association. Archology has unearthed evidence in the Greek cities of Asia Minor, youth guilds or organizations as they were apparently quite popular, and it seems by Peter’s use of the phrase that it had become a movement within the local church of this area. By the mere fact that Peter takes the time in this letter for this admonishment, suggests that the “youth movement” was being exhorted in reference to the maturity in the older believers instead of discarding it. Youth can be a bit brash in thinking that they have all the answers and many a church caters to the youth movement where most of the activities are centered around reaching and accommodating this element in the church. Peter’s exhortation is for them to reference the experience that maturity has brought them and to exercise “Humility”! While “quantity of years” is no guarantee of “quality of experience” with the “senior saint” what Peter is suggesting is that younger believers ought not resist the more mature in the fellowship! The words “be clothed with” in the Greek belong to a phrase that was associated with a slaves apron under which their loose outer garment was to be gathered when they were at work. Thus, the exhortation is that “Humility” is the “working virtue” that gathers all the other virtues of kindness, gentleness, self-control and generosity together making them useful towards others! Humility is NOT thinking poorly of oneself it is simply NOT thinking of oneself at all! Note as well as Peter quotes Proverbs 3:34 that a person cannot be submissive to someone else until they are first submissive to God. When a person struggles with submission to someone else oft times it is a signal that they struggle in submission to God. So, Peter says that the believer ought to first start with submission to God and He will grant grace to be submissive to others! The reason for this is that, “God resists the proud” and word used in the Greek for “resists” is a military term that means to draw up an army for battle. Prides calls forth God’s armies and sets Himself against the proud. The Greek word for “proud” is one than means “to show oneself above others” whereas “humble” is a Greek word that describes the character of Jesus, who being in the very nature God “humbled himself” and came in the likeness of sinful man. It was “pride” that turned Lucifer into satan, stirred Adam and Eve to become like God and according to 1 John 2:16 is an evidence of worldliness. Submission is an act of faith as we trust God to direct our lives to workout our transformation daily.
Vs. 6-7 The words “humble yourselves” is “suffer yourself to be humbled” which suggests that the persecution they were undergoing WAS the process employed by God to bring about humility and with it will in “due time” come to exaltation. “You will need to take a LOW place before God, before He will raise you up to serve His people.” God never exalts a person before “due time”, first the cross then the crown, first suffering, then glory! One of the clearest examples of pride is impatience and it is through trials that we learn patience! No one can claim the promise of verse 7 without first owning and excepting verse 6…..if we wish to cast our cares upon the one who cares for us them we will need to humble ourselves under His mighty hand! These dear saints found themselves with abundant opportunity to “worry” and Peter says that if they “submitted” to the humbling process they would be able to cast all of those worries at the feet of Him whose sole joy it is to carry those burdens. The exhortation is to cast ALL your concerns to God who has made YOU His concern! The purpose of this is in exchange for ALL our worries that consume us He would receive ALL our WORSHIP which is what ought to consume us! Such worries aren’t limited to the present worries but the future as well as those would be things that they are concerned about! Worry and anxiety are contradictory to faith and humility, no one can say they are, “Trusting God, if they are actively engaged in worry!” Worry in truth is, “self-exaltation” against God in as much that a person is trusting in their self instead of depending upon God! Listen up dear Christian, God is far more concerned about our welfare than we could ever possibly be! Since the humbling process has been allowed by God and He has ordained it to cause our maturity then we have nothing to be worried about! The word “Cast” is a financial term in the Greek that “having deposited with” and refers to a “Direct once for all committal to God of ALL that would give us concern”! God has everything and everyone under control and more importantly us under His care….so why worry? So, people have mistakenly concluded that in giving God all our concerns that He is obligated to make certain that they turn our to our expectations and timing, but God is NOT as much interested in “working FOR us” as He is “working IN us”!
- Vs. 8-9 Heedful
Vs. 8-9 “Be sober” in the Greek means to be “mentally self-controlled” whereas “vigilant” means “to be awake and watchful”. The reason Peter is exhorting the church to “mentally self-controlled and awake and watchful” is that we have an enemy (the devil) that is a “roaring lion” and the Greek word means the fierce howl of a hungry lion! He accuses, slanders, lies, and is a thief and a murder. It is Peter’s words that give the persecuted believer three practical instructions to secure victory over him.
- Vs. 8 Respect him: Words like, “be mentally self-controlled” and “be awake and watchful” suggest that Peter had a healthy respect for satan as clearly Peter saw him as extremely dangerous. Christian we need to take our spiritual warfare seriously and not think of satan as a joke, ignore him nor underestimate him. That doesn’t mean that we blame everything on him and start “casting demons out of the leaky fossette”! Furthermore, we have no biblical authority to be casting out demons from the headache or flat tire!
- Vs. 8b Recognize him: Next notice that Peter goes through a list of names that identifies him as our “adversary” which is a word that means and “opponent in a lawsuit”. The Greek word for “devil” is literally “to throw across or to send over” and means to bring a false charge against one that is full of hostility, malicious and insidious in nature. And as mentioned Peter calls satan a “roaring lion” and the Greek word means the fierce howl of a hungry lion! Satan is a counterfeit that duplicated but cannot create and as such is only interested in deception and keep us from examining his lies through the Spirit of God and the Word of God.
- Vs. 9 Resist him: Peter’s exhortation is for these persecuted believers to take a stand upon the Word of God and refuse to be moved. It is interesting that the Holy Spirit chose this word in the Greek as it means to “withstand, to be firm” rather than to “strive or fight against”. The Christian need not fight against the devil they only need to “stand on the truth”! The courageous fight is one in which we stand upon the victory won in Jesus and anything else share defeat. Dear ones before we can “Withstand against the devil we will always remember that we will need to bow before Jesus!” The Greek word “steadfast” is a military term that means a “company of heavily armed soldiers arranged in closely and deep as to make penetrating through our around them impossible”. Our strategy is total dependence upon Jesus which will always be 100% successful!
- Vs. 10-11 Hopeful
Vs. 10-11This encouraging doxology suggests four reasons the Christian can be hopeful in their attitude and actions even during persecution and uncertain times:
- Vs. 10a For Grace “May the God of ALL grace”: Our salvation and our sanctification is all under God’s never-ending grace that He has lavished upon us. His grace meets and exceeds every and all that life will demand of it in every situation and He will always give us more as it is sufficient for us.
- Vs. 10b For Glory “Who called us to His eternal glory”: Oh, dear saints let us never forget that what starts with God’s grace will ALWAYS LEAD and ONLY end in God’s GLORY! If we depend upon God’s glory when we suffer that suffering will result in glory! The road in this life may be difficult but it leads to glory and that will matter for all eternity!
- Vs. 10c For a Season “after you have suffered a while”: Such “suffering” is temporary as Paul had shared in 2 Cor 4:17 that it was only “little troubles” for a far more glorious outcome. Satan would have the Christian reverse this and make it “gigantic troubles for eternity with no benefit or outcome”!
- Vs. 10d For a Reason “perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you”: Finally, Peter reminds his readers that this persecution has four important benefits for believers:
- Perfect: The word in the Greek means to make spiritual mature and is used else where in Mark 1:19 for mending fishing nets and suggests that persecution doesn’t destroy God work in our lives it does the opposite in makes us whole and minds us back together.
- Establish: Here the word means to “ground a building to a foundation”. Persecution shall: “Perfect us that no defect remain, establish us so that nothing will be able to shake us free of Him, shall strengthen us so that we may overcome all that tries to pry us away from His love.”
- Strengthen: Here the word means God’s strength given to meet all the demands of this life. What good would it do the Christian to stand upon the firm foundation of God’s word without the strength to apply it and act upon it?
- Settle: Here the word means to “lay a foundation” which is the same word used in Matt. 7:24-27 and the parable of the house that withstood the storm because it was anchored upon the Rock! A believer who has established their faith upon the Rock of Jesus Christ will be able to withstand all storms that come from the sea of life and neither will they be tossed about by every “wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14).
Vs. 11 All of this is to the Glory and His dominion forever and ever! We must see that such a reason as stated above gives witness that His plans, purpose and time will always be that which glorifies Him the best.
- Vs. 12-14 Faithful
Vs. 12-14 It seems that Silvanus was the person to whom Peter dictated the letter and says that he deemed him a faithful servant and had witnessed as much. Peter had opened the letter in 1:2 with a greeting in peace he now closes it with a benediction of peace. He restates the reason for the letter was to admonish them to stand upon the true grace of God. The use of the word Babylon can refer to Rome but also the city of the Euphrates which had a Jewish presence. I lean that way as there is no reason to assume that Peter was using a code for Rome as John would do later in Revelation. Furthermore, Rome is only used by the that distinction one time in Revelation where it is called Babylon the great and every other place it is called Rome. Finally, Peter suggests that they great each other with a Holy Kiss which was a first century church practice men to men and women to women. It is only mentioned 4 times in the New testament and was practiced by believing slaves and masters to each other. It was later band as it was abused by men kissing women not their wives and was stopped.