Wrapped up 1Peter this morning. What a great letter! A letter for all those who are suffering. Maybe not in the same way these first century saints suffered for their faith, but applicable, I think, for anyone who is under the prolonged burden of some trial. Peter not only want’s them to keep on keepin’ on, but to flourish in doing so. And, ultimately, to do so for the glory of the God who called them, promised to preserve them, and will surely present them to Himself in gospel victory.
If Peter’s letter is the pattern, then those who suffer need to be reminded of what they possess through this great salvation, “things which angels long to look.” They need to know again their call to be holy, even as God is holy. And they need to know they have the power to actually be holy as they consider afresh their identity in Christ as living stones, a spiritual house, a people for God’s own possession.
And knowing all this to be true, they need walk in a manner worthy of who they are, despite suffering’s pressure to let go and cave to the ways of the old nature. They are to suffer as Christ suffered. With righteous suffering enabled through the power of God, the indwelling Holy Spirit. And they need to hang together. Community being key to conquering. The family of believers necessary for carrying the burden.
All this, as they hold tight, by faith, to the promise:
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 5:10-11 ESV)
This is the true grace of God. That’s Peter’s summary statement for everything he’s encouraged these worn out pilgrims with.
By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.
(1Peter 5:12 ESV)
The true grace of God. Not cheap grace. Not wishful-thinking grace. Not just-for-some-and-not-for-others grace. But true grace. Real grace. Available to all grace.
We really have been born again through imperishable seed through the living and abiding word of God (1:23). There really is an inheritance kept in heaven for us (1:4). Though we may feel like weary, dusty sojourners and exiles, we, in fact, are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (2:9).
And Christ really has left us an example through His suffering for us (2:21). And not just an example we’re left to try and feebly replicate on our own. But an example with commensurate power. The Holy Spirit’s empowering. Enabling us to suffer in such a way that, defying human tendencies, we can still think about others, honor others, and love others (2:17).
And this, because we really have “ceased from sin” and can live for the “will of God” (4:1-2). Sin no longer having dominion over us. It’s power broken. It’s shame claim nailed to the cross. For we really are no longer people subject to the flesh. We are children of the Spirit. And so we live differently and we suffer differently. Because this is the true grace of God.
And thus, Peter leaves me with one final command to obey.
Stand firm in it.
Both feet . . . firmly established . . . immovable . . . unshakable in the true grace of God.
Grace which really is abounding (Rom 5:15, 2Cor. 9:8). Grace which is truly sufficient (2Cor. 12:9).
Amazing grace. Marvelous grace. Wondrous grace. The true grace of God.
Stand firm in it.
And that too, by His grace.
To Him be the glory.