Scripture — I Peter 5:5f
Subject — Our Christian walk
Theme — The nature of our Christian walk
Proposition — The nature of our Christian walk reveals the rest of faith and the war of faith.
Purpose — Having looked at the nature of our Christian walk let us rejoice that God is faithful that He will complete in us the good work He has begun.
Unity of Scripture
I Peter has a characteristic impress of Old Testament modes of thought and expression.
Not only does I Peter, comparatively speaking, contain more quotations from and references to the Old Testament than any other New Testament writing, cf. 1: 16, 24, 25; 2: 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 22-24; 3:10-12, 13, 14; 4:8, 17, 18; 5:5, 7; but the entire complexion of the letter shows that the author lived and moved in Old Testament conceptions to such an extent, that he preferably expresses his thoughts in Old Testament language.
Therefore Humble yourselves, (3rd time called for in the space of a few words)
Being humble stands in opposition to being prideful. This call to be humble is
1.) In the context of the call to be submissive to those whom we have been placed under
2.) consistent with what we find elsewhere in Scripture.
7Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed(G) how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8″When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place,(H) so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11For(I) everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Lk. 14)
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; (Eph. 4)
Augustine quickly gained a great reputation, but feeling called to the monastic life, he carefully avoided being pressured into becoming a bishop by avoiding all churches lacking such a leader. In 391, he visited Hippo Regius in hopes of assisting a friend to conversion, and attended church services there. The church did have a bishop by the name of Valerius, but unbeknownst to Augustine, the bishop was looking for a presbyter. Coerced by the congregation, Augustine reluctantly but obediently became priest of Hippo, beginning his duties in 391
Gregory was born to a wealthy patrician family and at the age of 30 he was made prefect of Rome, Rome’s highest civil office. He felt the call to monasticism, however, and converted (c.575) his home and others of his houses into Benedictine convents. Later (c.586), he reluctantly became abbot. In 578 he was made a deacon of Rome. From 579 to c.586 he was ambassador at Constantinople, then he served as chief adviser of Pelagius II. When commencing a missionary voyage to England, he was recalled to Rome and despite desiring only to be a Monk, Gregory was elected pope by acclamation, accepting against his will and despite chronic illness.
Note the character of the humbleness that Peter calls for
1.) It is confident in God’s ability
We have a tendency to think we must be the ones who advance ourselves, through plotting and planning and ingratiating actions. All of this is done with the end in view of exalting ourselves. Our actions and behaviors thus become calculated to see ourselves lifted up. Peter communicates though the way to position is by humbling ourselves.
The text here communicates that our confidence unto being “exalted” must rest in God’s timing. If we are genuinely confident in God advancing us then our actions will have a view towards doing what is right before God, thus showing the humbleness called for, and letting God be concerned about our position.
“All who seek to elevate themselves, shall have God as their enemy, who will lay them low. But, on the contrary, Peter says of the humble, that God will be propitious and favorable to them. We are to imagine that; God has two hands; the one, which like a hammer beats down and breaks in pieces those who raise up themselves; and the other, which raises up the humble who willingly let down themselves, and is like a firm prop to sustain them.” John Calvin
Casting All Your Care Upon Him, For He Careth For you, (Rest of Faith)
A lack of confidence in God’s providence towards us and faithful covenant keeping towards us makes the call to humility far more difficult. If we do not believe that God cares for us, we will believe we must care for ourselves and the humility characterized by submitting is hardly the characteristic of one who cares for themselves. In order then to have confidence and reason unto humility Peter reminds his readers of God’s providence and covenant keeping nature so that they may roll over their cares upon Him.
Keep in mind also though that these were a people who were familiar with suffering. The reminder that God cared for them would be incentive for them to cast all their care upon their covenant keeping God.
This call to remember God’s care for His people is always a good word. We live in times that hold out many threats to us. There are many matters that were we to contemplate to long we could easily become terrorized by the enormity of it all. Yet, above it all, Sits the sovereign God who cares for us. In these matters the tangibility of our faith shows through. How do we keep our equilibrium when all around us are frightened … part of the answer to that is that we are a people who are confident that the sovereign of all the universe cares for us.
This call is to provide a rest of faith and not to be used as a license unto sloth.
Now, here, in the midst of these imperatives, we must briefly have the Gospel. Peter can tell his readers that God cares for them for only one reason. God does not care for them because of their suffering. If they were outside Christ Peter could not tell them that God cares for them. They would be in no known relationship with God except that as criminals before a judge. Peter can only tell them that God cares for them because of the finished work of Jesus Christ for the Church. It is only because Jesus turned away the just wrath of the Father upon the Church that Peter can now reference God’s providential and covenantal care for the Church. It is only because of Christ’s work on the Cross that reconciled these believers that Peter can tell them that “God cares for them.” God cares for them because, by being related to and united with Christ, they have a legal claim to God’s relational care.
If you are outside of Christ you can have no confidence that God careth for you. All of the language here bespeaks a unique relationship existing between Peter’s readers and God that does not exist universally.
Be Sober, Be vigilant (War of Faith)
The words can also be translated “self-controlled,” and “watchful.”
We’ve seen them before from Peter
13″Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
4:7 — “The end of all things is at hand; therefore(P) be self-controlled and sober-minded(Q) for the sake of your prayers.”
Peter follows an injunction to encourage the rest of faith (God cares for you) with an injunction unto the war of faith (Be sober, be vigilant).
With these words Peter reminds us of the antithesis. If we belong to Christ we will have war with the devil. This is a prevailing problem of Christians in the West right now. We have forgotten that we are at war or that such a thing as the antithesis exists. We have forgotten that we have an adversary who is committed to crushing us. We have forgotten that we are part of the Church militant.
Note here several realities
1.) There is a Devil
2.) We are at war
People who are at war are people who are self controlled and watchful. They look for the enemies designs at every turn.
Our opponent is our adversary which was a terms used for an opponent in a lawsuit. Devil is translated from Satan and means slanderer or accuser. The metaphor used (Roaring Lion) reminds us of why we need to be self-controlled and watchful.
All of this is interesting because it reminds us again of the “now, not yet” nature of the Christian faith. It is true that Christ has already delivered us from Satan’s grasp and defeated the enemy of our souls, and yet it remains for us to resist the devil. The Christian life is battle.
the means of our resistance is by remaining steadfast in the faith. It is our faith that the Devil would overturn and the means of resisting him is that same faith. This imperative reminds us at the same time of the need to grow in our faith.
As Peter closes out His letter he returns to what might be termed the main theme of the letter. The theme of suffering.
Peter reminds his readers once again that their suffering is not unique to them. That their suffering is being shared universally by the brotherhood. It is a comfort when one is in battle to know that one does not battle alone.
The passage also reminds us of the unity of the saints. It is true that there are different Churches with different tribes belonging to those different Churches but because of Christ there is a spiritual brotherhood that obtains between us so that even though we may belong to different families of men, we still retain the spiritual bond of Christ in all our afflictions and in all our triumphs.
Peter closes with a beautiful benediction that reminds us that while the battle rages we are secure because of what Jesus Christ has accomplished. Satan may attack us, seek to devour us, and accuse and slander us but in the end our faithful covenant keeping God will perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle us.
2 thoughts on “I Peter 5:5f — The Rest of Faith … The War of Faith”
Original: “There are many matters that were we to contemplate TO long we could easily become terrorized by the enormity of it all.”
Edit: “were we to contemplate TOO long”
Original: “They look for the ENEMIES designs at every turn.”
Edit: “They look for the ENEMY’S designs at every turn.” Unless it is talking about several of the enemies and their designs, then it should be ENEMIES’. Either way it should show possession.
Original: “the means of our resistance is by remaining steadfast in the faith.”
Edit: Capitalize ‘the.’
This is an incredibly encouraging post. It gives such a proper view of man and the necessity to rely on God, and shows God in His proper place over man, while also establishing an effective call for man to fulfill His duty. It’s so simply written, yet the message is powerful.