A month ago I wrapped up Isaiah and give it my vote for consideration as a prophetic book that the church would do well to study in this season (you can check that post out here). A month later I’m wrapping up 1 Peter, and kind of feeling the same way about it — it gets my vote for the practical book we might take to heart during times that are hard. If Isaiah is a call for God’s wayward people to let times of trouble lead them to repent and return to their God, then 1 Peter is a primer for God’s faithful people on how to endure through those purifying times of trouble.
Stirred this morning by Peter’s closing exhortations to these “elect exiles of the Dispersion” (1:1).
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
(1Peter 5:8-11 ESV)
Exhortation. Identification. Affirmation.
Exhortation. Be sober-minded. Be watchful. Resist the devil. Think carefully. Think clearly. Recognize the enemy. Be calm, collected, and circumspect. Give strict attention to what is true. Remember the ultimate fight isn’t against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of evil (Eph. 6:12). The devil is a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. How does a lion do that? He culls individuals from the herd. Peter has spent much of his letter encouraging believers on how to remain a herd. So, resist his lies. Resist his dividing schemes. Resist trying to go it alone.
Identification. The God of all grace has called you. The God of ALL grace. The infinite God, God without limits, is in Himself grace without limits. Not only grace sufficient to save you from past sins, but grace also sufficient to sustain you in your present suffering. With unlimited grace left over to secure you in your future setting — His eternal glory. Supplying grace to stand firm in a increasingly secular, pagan world. Ready to impart grace as we interface with a hostile word. Abundant grace available as outside pressures cause inside, family tensions. Just like our brotherhood throughout the world, we’re gonna suffer — though relative to eternity, for just “a little while” — but the grace available from the God of all grace is sufficient to carry us through all our difficulties.
Affirmation. Ours is to be sober-minded. Ours is to be watchful. Ours is to resist. Knowing that God will be the One who restores, confirms, strengthens, and establishes. Faithfulness in seasons of suffering will be used of God to advance His sanctifying work within us. Correct thinking about the chaotic world around us will be used of God to stabilize a firm resolve to pursue the coming world beyond us. As we lean into another day that will likely continue to sap our strength, the indwelling Spirit of God builds up our walk-by-faith muscle which ultimately renews our strength. And by resisting the enemy’s whispers to abandon ship, our Father patiently, lovingly works in us together to firmly plant our feet on the Rock of our salvation, His Son.
Rather than just being battered by the storm, we can actually get better in the storm.
Not in our own strength, but by the grace of the God of all grace.
Not that we would boast in how well we endured. But that He might receive all the glory for His faithfulness and power.