Tuesday, April 2, 2013

1 Peter 5:5-11

5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Vs. 5 The Apostle Peter having commanded the elders amongst the brethren to basically submit themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ and serve Him (with clear consciences and holy motives) as overseers of the flock, and as not "lords" of God's people (consider Mark 10:45). Now turns his focus to those who are "younger." That is those believers who by reason of their age (and or their newness in the faith) are younger. And so the Apostle Peter commands that we all submit ourselves to our elders in our church congregations. Which is basically an out growth of our submitting to our elders (i.e. parents and such) in the home and the greater community. Now just in case some misunderstand what this entails, this is not serving some sort of hierarchical regime where people seek to ascend "the ladder" to attain too greater and higher privileges. For that's the way of the unregenerate and self-serving world, not the Body of Christ (consider James 3:13-18). Indeed the Apostle Peter says that we are all to be submissive to one another (whether old or young), and that we all be be clothed with humility. Which is a basic premise of living Godly (consider Isaiah 57:15; Micah 6:8). For as the Apostle Peter quotes here from Proverbs 3:34: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (also consider Psalm 138:6). Therefore just as the Lord Jesus Christ is meek and humble and gentle with all, so should we all seek to live and be. Whether in leadership or not (Psalm 149:4). For that is how the community of faith is to function towards each other, and towards all (consider Matt 11:29; Eph 4:1-5; Phil 2:1-4; Col 3:12-14; 2 Tim 2:25; Titus 3:2). For as the Apostle Peter commands we are all to be clothed with humility (vs. 5). And thus we are to be both reachable and teachable (Psalm 119:66; 143:10; Prov 9:9). Not proud, not haughty, not arrogant, and thus not independent of, nor indifferent towards each other (Rom 12:16). For humility is foundational to attaining to God's wisdom, and being a partner with Him in fulfilling His purposes in the earth (consider Psalm 25:9; Prov 11:2; 22:4). Therefore as God's elect people we are to be humble before God and our fellow person, being submissive towards each other, and caring for each other, sharing and bearing each others burdens in love, and so looking out for each others well being and not just ones own interests, aspirations, goals and desires (consider Gal 6:1-2; Phil 2:3-4). Therefore not treating each other as the worlds treats their own: honoring the proud, rich and mighty, while despising or forsaking the meek, lowly, weak and poor (consider Psalm 10:2-4). Therefore we are neither to respect the proud, nor follow their ways (Job 40:9-14; 1 Sam 2:3; Psalm 12:3; 31:18; 40:4; 119:21; 123:3-4; 131:1). For the Lord's judgment is on the proud (Job 9:13; 40:11; Psalm 18:27; 31:23; 101:5), and He will visit them for punishment in the Day of His wrath (Psalm 59:12; 94:2; Isaiah 2:11-12; 5:15-17; 29:19-21; antithesis Zephaniah 2:3; Isaiah 57:15).

Vs. 6-7 "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."

The Scriptures are filled with exhortations and promises that when anyone humbles themselves under the mighty hand of God, God will exalt them in due time (consider 2 Chron 7:14; Isaiah 57:15; Psalm 18:27; Luke 18:9-14; Heb 12:3-11; James 4:7-10). Therefore regardless of our circumstances in life we are to cast all our cares and concerns upon Him (Phil 4:6-7), trusting Him completely (Job 5:16; Psalm 37:34-40; Hosea 6:1). For God cares for us all, in good times and bad (consider Isaiah 54:7-8).

Now one of the most important examples of this, and that during a time of seemingly unexplainable suffering, is that of the Biblical saint Job. A man who though blameless in the sight of God will have to endure, not only some horrific tribulations brought on by Satan; but also during such a horrible and unexplainable time, have to endure an utter abandonment of his person from his family, friends, and community. And so, though God will allow Satan to afflict Job for a season. He will not forsake Job to him. Rather God will use Jobs sufferings to expose Job's own sinfulness to him (and thus show him that he, like all peoples, has a need for repentance before God). While also exposing his friends deeply held, and wrongly applied "theologies", through which their words and behavior towards their afflicted friend Job can only be described as abhorrent and utterly unjustifiable.
Now as we know Job's later end has God blessing Job mightily, as well as rebuking Job's friends for their not speaking what was right about Him. And so God will restore Job and all his loses, indeed giving him far more then ever had, and put Job back into his rightful place in the community, and with Himself. Therefore we are never to let our current circumstances cause us to despair, whether these are brought on by others or by God chastening us, for we know that God's chastisement is meant to produce righteousness and humility in us (Prov 20:30; Zeph. 3:11-12; Heb 12:13).
Purging out of us (and hopefully others as well) all those non-Christ like ways and wrongly held beliefs by which we unwittingly misrepresent the Kingdom of God and or miss-use His Word. Therefore if you think you can tell an obedient and faithful Christian by their ease of life, or their prosperity, at any point in their life, think again. For neither prosperity, nor poverty, indicates anything about a person and their standing with God. Same with suffering and afflictions. For not one of the Biblical Apostles ever had an easy time in being faithful towards the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed the Apostle Paul who was arguably the most ardent for the Lord Jesus Christ suffered unimaginable evils at the hands of both his own countrymen the Jews, as well as those Gentiles who opposed the gospel, and then later the false apostles who would infiltrate the church (2 Cor 11:12-15; 22-33).
Nonetheless Paul remained secure in his faith, joy and love in Christ, even when he was abandoned by some of those he brought into the faith (2 Tim 3:10-12; 4:18). Because his life's focus and purpose was not on himself and his personal circumstances. But rather on knowing Jesus Christ better so that he might more fully declare the Gospel of God that leads to salvation, to both Jews and Gentiles, a Gospel that saves everyone who repents and believes. Therefore when believers suffer persecution, afflictions, tragedies, diseases etc. one should not be too quick to judge them, or dismiss them and their testimony and faith in Jesus Christ. For just as God upheld Job through his darkest hours, so God upholds all who keep their trust in Jesus through their darkest hours as well.

Vs. 8-9 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

 Having commended us all to humility before the Lord. The Apostle Peter now exhorts us all to be both sober and vigilant, for as the Apostle Peter says "the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour." For the devil is a real being, with real power and real spiritual forces behind him seeking to do his will in this world (consider Luke 22:53; 2 Cor 11:12-15; Eph 6:12). Indeed if one looks at the Scriptures as a whole he is mentioned far more times in the New Testament than in the Old.
Indeed outside of his mention in Genesis 3:1, 4, 5, 15, 15:1, 1 Chronicles 21:1; Job (chapters 1-2), Isaiah 14:12-21; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Zechariah 3:1-2 (approx 19x) he is found most extensively in the N.T. (approx 71x) with the Gospel and the Book of Revelations carrying most of his appearances, and or his being mentioned. Now the devil operates in two primary spheres. The first mentioned is that of mind (i.e. "be sober"). Therefore two primary defenses are given us to thwart him. The first is for us is to be sober. Now one may immediately assume this simply means don't be intoxicated, whether by alcohol or marijuana or any other drug, illicit or legal. For it is fairly obvious that mood altering substances if consumed for those effects are an open door for demonic activity in ones life. And so, yes that is good counsel to steer clear of all such things, and those who justify indulging in them. Yet the jest of the word used here translated "sober" is far more encompassing. And entails being sober-minded, which begins by taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (consider 2 Cor 10:3-5). And thus measure everything by what God's Word says, rather than what someone has "passed along" to you. For if the devil can get you to believe a lie, as was the case with Job's friend Eliphaz. Who was visited by a spirit in the night that he believed was sent from God, yet who convinced him that his own friend Job, whom God had called blameless, was now under the judgment of God (see Job 4:12-21; 5:1-7). Than the devil can get you to do great harm. For in this world where there are many "voices" that expound many things, none of which will help you or others, strive to live soundly in every aspect of your life (compare 1 Peter 1:13; 4:7). Especially as this pertains to your faith in Christ. For there are many strange teachings that are expounded as Christian theology, yet have nothing to do with Christ, nor the Spirit of God (consider Heb 13:7-9). And as Job's friends proved, zeal without true knowledge of God, is a very dangerous and perilous thing. Therefore first and foremost as a disciple of Jesus Christ steer clear of excesses and extremes in speech and behavior, by which people unwittingly sin and error (consider Proverbs 10:19; 17:27; 25:28; 29:20; Acts 24:25; Gal 5:23; Titus 1:8; 2:8; 2 Peter 1:6). Same with the doctrines and commandments of men who turn from the truth, and are turned aside after fables (Acts 20:28-30; 1 Tim 1:4; 4:1-4, 4:7; 2 Tim 4:1-5; Titus 1:14-16). Therefore first and foremost as a disciple of Jesus Christ strive to live peaceably with all, and stay true to the Scriptures in your faith and life. For as the Apostle Paul warned "the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine" (2 Tim 4:3-5). Therefore we are to be both sober and vigilant (which is our second means of defense. Now the word translated vigilant often means "be watchful" (consider Matt 26:41; Acts 20:28:31; 1 Cor 16:13-14; Col 4:2; 1 Thess 5:6-8; Rev 3:2-3; 16:15). Therefore be vigilant in your life; (which is the antithesis to being idle) and be watchful in all things; guarding your heart, mind, and body. For it's out of the heart that the issues of life spring (consider Prov 4:23; Mark 7:21) and it's through the body, in which sin dwells, that the devil seeks opportunity. Therefore put on the whole armor of God (Eph 6:10-18). Having your waist "girded with the belt of truth", stand for the truth which will defeat all of the lies of the devil and man, heeding neither (consider Psalm 40:4; 125:5; Ezek 13:22-23). Put on "the breastplate of righteousness", which means both trusting Jesus Christ's own Righteousness for ones salvation and living Righteously because of it, which will keep the devil far from you (1 John 5:18). Have your "Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace", so that you might be an agent of Christ's peace wherever you go (Matt 5:9). As well hold up and hold onto the "shield of faith" which will protect your whole person from all of the fiery darts of the devil, for we walk by faith not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). Therefore live each day as one justified fully by faith In Jesus, and give grace to others as well. And so wear the "helmet of salvation" which is ones eternally secure place with Christ (John 10:27-30). Finally take up the "Sword of Spirit which is the word of God", and so rebuke all the devils lies, temptations and assaults (consider Matt 4:1-11). For the Word of God is not only our greatest weapon for defeating the devil's lies, but also in having God free lives and opening hearts of those still enslaved to him (Heb 4:12-13). For there is no other means to defeat the devils schemes then to be proactive against them. Therefore we are to resist Satan steadfastly in the faith (consider James 4:7) knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by our brethren around the world (vs. 9). And thus whatever things we now suffer at either mans or the devils hands is not unique to ourselves.

Vs. 10-11 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

In his closing benediction the Apostle Peter expounds the grace of God. For God, our God and Father is the God of all grace. For that is His very nature which He extends and has extended to us all who believe and thus have have received His grace through His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For it is God by His Sovereign grace who has called us into His eternal glory by Christ Jesus (consider (Rom 9:11). And so just as God patiently endured with us and our mischievous and sinful ways for a season. So we will have to endure wrongs for Jesus Christ's names sake because of His desire to reach and save others as well (consider 2 Peter 3:9). For God has called us into His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, and that is reason enough for our carrying on with Him and following in the Lord Jesus Christ's ways. Therefore though we suffer for a season, suffering persecution and wrongs and such, after we have suffered for a while, God will perfect, establish, strengthen and settle us (see bellow). That is God's promise spoken here to us through the Apostle Peter, and is the ultimate effect of our enduring various kinds of trials and tribulations (consider Rom 5:3-5), and so that will also be apart of His good work in us. "To Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen"

Word Studies (1 Peter 5:10)

Perfect (Str 2675; GK 2936; LN 75.5) Louw-Nida gives this as a definition in this context; "to make someone completely adequate or sufficient for something—‘to make adequate, to furnish completely, to cause to be fully qualified, adequacy.’ Now if you think about that for a moment that is what our suffering for our faith in Jesus Christ does, through it, God makes us more and more adequate for Christ's service. Building character in us surely, but also teaching us how to respond in accord with Christ's commandments (and thus rely on Him) when faced with disagreeable people and or very unpleasant circumstances.  For how else does ones grow in trusting God as being truly all sufficient in every aspect of life unless they have their person and faith both tested and proven. For it's easy to give lip service, and or nod in agreement with all the right things that we are to do and say. But it's another thing altogether to put them into real life practice when suddenly and unexpectedly faced with that one distressing thing (or person/personality type) that makes us become utterly unravelled! And so let us again look at Job. A blameless man in every regard until he too had to face his own overwhelming trials. Now at first Job excelled in accepting both loss of possessions and sons and daughters by Satan's direct assaults on his household. Job took it all as most nobly as anyone possibly could, refusing all self pity and instead would say: "the Lord has given and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the Lord" (see Job 1:21). Now if that were the end of his story we would say what a remarkable man that Job was, he suffered all that and never even flinched! However if your a student of the Bible, and have meditated on Job's story for any length of time, you realize that is not the end of it. For God will allow Satan more one request and that is to assault Job's person, yet without taking his life. Now Job will seemingly initially pass that trial as well (see Job 2:6-10). Yet it will be with the arrival of his friends, followed by a week long of silent contemplation with them, that Job when he breaks his silence, will give vent to his horrible physical and quite obvious emotional pain; expressing it in the most darkest ways possible (Job 3). And having done so, Job instead of receiving any sort of consolation from his companions, will only find three "friends" who are more than ready and frankly quite eager to condemn Job (even his now deceased children) as having been exceedingly sinful and wicked in the sight of the Lord, using not only Job's circumstances as evidence against him, but also his own despairing words, and thus they will continually assert that Job and his household have brought their own miseries and demise on themselves. Now initially Job will try to reason with them, pleading for mercy and understanding from them, while trying to both understand his own plight and prove his innocence to them. But when that fails, and they only become more hardened and entrenched in their condemning and mocking of him. Job will begin to turn his words not only against them, but more specifically against the Lord, whom he believes is doing all these things to him. And so in the course of time he will say some utterly unjustifiable things about the Lord and His dealings with him (consider Job 19:22; 27:2; 34:5 etc.). Now when Job's friends fail to reasonably explain Job's plight and their words fail them, and Job gives his finial and encompassing discourse on his just conduct before the Lord (Job 31). They cease responding to Job, for as the Scripture says, "Job was righteous in his own eyes" (32:1), that is he was justifying himself rather than God. Now it is at this point that a new speaker appears, a young man amongst them named Elihu, the fourth and finial speaker and silent one amongst them. Who according to custom had waited until all the elders had spoken, and so when their words had failed them; to bring about Job's repentance; he then begins to speak (32:1-9). And so Elihu speaks, because as the Scripture says, his wrath was aroused at both Job and Job's friends. At Job because Job was justifying himself rather than God, and thus was charging God with having wronged him! As well Elihu's wrath was aroused towards Job's three friends who were condemning Job, yet had found no reasonable explanation for his plight. Now this he does with a desire to justify Job's person before his friends, while seeking to make Job see that God's Sovereignty over all of creation means that He is by no means accountable to us, but that we are all accountable to Him. And so Elihu will seek to justify God's Person by declaring His Sovereign works in the world (Job 32:1-37:24). Something that Job initally had done (remember Job 1:21), but as his plight continued he turned away from, and began seeking to justify himself rather than God. Something Job's friends too had utterly distorted in their desires to prove Job guilty and deserving of his horrific plight. And so they will say some really unjustifiable and slanderous things about Job, while utterly misrepresenting God's dealings with him, largely through their entrenched beliefs in the traditions handed down to them. Now God will step onto the scene, as Elihu is finishing his course. For Job in his bitter despair had so strongly and wrongly reduced himself and his plight to that of justifying himself, that it is clear that no man was going to be able to adequately correct him. And so it will be while Elihu is justifying God and rebuking Job for his words against Him, that God will step into the scene and personally call Job to account for all his words against Him. What then unfolds by God is the greatest discourse on His Sovereignty over all of creation, in His both creating, establishing and or uprooting according to His own Perfect Knowledge Wisdom and Power. And with that, when God speaks, Job seeing himself in the light of Divine Perfection and Perfect Knowledge quickly repents of his justifying himself and justifies God! (Job 38:1-42:17). Now when that happens, God restores Job and his losses, giving Job far more than he ever lost (Job 42:10-17). For that is always the ended end of God allowing suffering in believers lives, to make us more enriched in every aspect of life, as well as more fit and able at the end of them (consider James 5:11). Now God will in another gracious act withhold His judgment from Job's three friends for their misrepresenting Him, His Words, and His dealings with Job. And so it will be the restored Job, by which God will accept a sacrifice for their sin (Job 42:7-9).
And so, that all said, I hope your still with me, again it's only when we are tested by "fire" ( 1 Peter 4:12) that we find out just how mature or not we truly are as believers of the Lord Jesus Christ. For God's allowing those unpleasant and very difficult circumstances in our life is not meant to destroy us, but to help perfect us in the faith.

Establish (Str 4741; GK 5114; LN 74.19; 85.38) the essence of the word translated establish here is that through our trials and such God will not only strengthen us in our faith, and thus we will not become easily unsettled by difficult circumstances in our lives, but more specifically he will through them establish our character in our Christian communities.

Strengthen (Str 4599; GK 4964; LN 74.14) Louw-Nida gives this as a definition "to cause someone to be or to become more able or capable, with the implication of a contrast with weakness—‘to make more able, to strengthen. Saying that the previous word translated establish, as well as the word translated strengthen here "...are very similar in meaning and serve primarily to intensify the meaning of making persons more able to engage in or to undergo certain experiences."

Settle (Str 2311; GK 2530; LN 31.94) The word used here has similair overtones with the word translated establish, that is to strenghten. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testement gives this as the purpose that this word is pointing too in our lives: "The effect or aim of strengthening is the impregnability of Christian faith in spite of the troubles which have to be endured"

Scripture Citations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982

Additional Resources
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Edited by Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich. electronic ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-.

Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996.

Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament). electronic ed. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.


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