Father, thank You for raising Jesus to the place of authority over all things. When I face evil and temptation, keep me alert and give me the grace to resist the devil always. Make me more humble like my Savior, so that I may depend fully on You and stand firm in Your strength. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read 1 Peter 5
Observe that the early local church recognized certain persons as overseers, elders, or shepherds. These were identifiable people whom the apostle could address specifically at the end of his letter.
Peter was a witness of Christ’s sufferings, and he wrote at the end of this letter to fellow elders. In the persecuted church, it’s often the elders and overseers, the pastor-shepherds, who suffer first and most. These local church leaders may be especially tempted under trials and trouble, so Peter encouraged them to remain eager, faithful, contented, gentle, and willing examples to the people they serve and oversee.
Young men in particular should submit to the elders, just as all God’s people are to be humble as they relate to one another. God opposes the proud, Peter says, but gives grace to the humble. It is prideful to take matters into our own hands as if we’re in control, not the Lord. It takes humility to trust God with all one’s concerns, to wait for His deliverance. But the Heavenly Father truly cares about His suffering church!
Watch this salute to modern-day martyrs, and remember: “Your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (3:18). WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES OF VIOLENCE
Finally, Peter sounded the alarm concerning the devil whom he compares to a roaring lion on the prowl looking for people to devour. Followers of Jesus must resist the devil and be firm in their faith.
When suffering persecution and hardship, isolation and difficulty, God’s people might think their situation is unusual. Not so, says Peter. Throughout the world, believers are suffering because of the devil and people opposed to Christ and His church. So, be strong and firm. God, who is full of grace and has called believers to a future and eternal glory, will finally support and establish suffering Christians—both during and after their suffering. In this life, first comes suffering, then comes glory. In the middle of suffering, God is ruling and in control, and even then, dominion belongs to Jesus Christ the Lord—not Nero, not Christ-haters, not even to the devil.
Silvanus (or Silas) is a faithful brother in Christ who helped write 1 Peter. In closing, Peter states his purpose for writing, sends his greetings, and urges them to greet one another with the holy kiss of love, an acceptable greeting of the time.
His readers have been both reminded of the true grace of God’s gospel and urged to take their stand in that grace as God’s chosen, holy, beloved people, those whose future in Christ is secure.
1 Peter 5:8-9
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
- Those who are in Christ have what it takes (the Holy Spirit) to resist all temptations. They never have to fear the devil; rather, they should resist him, standing firm in their faith.
- Take the humble path, because the low road is the way to receive God’s grace. Prideful people put themselves in a very awkward relationship to God. We do not want God resisting us and our efforts (5:5)!
- Talk with a fellow disciple about your own struggles with pride and self-reliance. Confess to one another specific instances of pride in attitude, words, and deeds. Discuss 1 Peter 5:5, and consider what it might look like to clothe yourself with humility. Then go and take the low road of humility, again and again.
- Read the next section of the Baptist Faith and Message—on The Kingdom, Last Things and Evangelism and Missions. Note any questions you have or things you’d like to learn more about. [Basic Doctrine]