1 Peter 5:1-7 Devotional Commentary

Humble yourselves! Why? Devotional Commentary for September 4-10

1 Peter 5:1-7 (NASB)

This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us Wisdom and Insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.

5:1-4
1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,
2shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;
3nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

We have come to a point where Peter draws his letter to a significant instructive conclusion. Having thoroughly explained the earthly sojourn of a Christian as a journey from a present suffering to a future glory with Christ, he now instructs us on how we must live and serve as the church of Jesus Christ and as God's individual children. Here, Peter exhorts us on the authority of his apostleship and eldership. He speaks to us as a personal witness to the sufferings and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and a partaker of the Glory to come.

Most certainly, even though he spoke from personal experience, his words are inspired and authored by the Holy Spirit. They are God-breathed. So he directly speaks first to the leadership of the churches and then to the rank-and-file of congregations. Peter points out that the servants of God must distinguish themselves with certain key attributes. These are not things they do, but qualities into which believers are transformed as they mature in faith and are sanctified by the Spirit through God's double-edged Word.

Peter exhorts elders and church leaders to be good, gracious, and responsible shepherds. He charges them to be godly, sensitive, and sensible overseers. He warns them against being autocratic, authoritarian, or dictatorial enforcers of the letter of the law over the flock entrusted to their care. Just be the shepherds whom God had appointed to be godly stewards over God's redeemed sheep. Just be the shepherds of God's Will. Just be the shepherds of God's appointment and His anointing, inspired by His compassion, mercy, and care. Just be the shepherds of God's calling, not out of one's own self-serving personal desire, greed, or for gain, but only as an obedience to God's call on one's life.

Peter urges elders and church leaders to lead by example, reflecting God's goodness and His care. They must always remember that they are under-shepherds, subject to the authority of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd. They are accountable to Him. They will either receive the unfading crown of Glory for their godly service or shall be judged as one whose redeemed soul escaped from fire naked yet alive. Pastors, elders, church leaders, and heads of ministries must always keep in mind that the flock allotted to their care belongs to God. The redeemed are God's blood-bought possessions.

5:5-7
5You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,
7casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Having strongly admonished the under-shepherds of God's flock, Peter now speaks to the rank-and-file of the churches, especially the young adults and the self-assured. He exhorts believers to be humble and submit to the authority of the elders and church leaders who are given the charge to care for the flock. There is no law against polite or deferent gestures, but this is not a call to courtesy. To be sure, Peter emphatically calls for a conscious subjection of oneself to the elders and overseers as unto the Lord, Who is the chief Shepherd, the Head of the Body, and the LORD of both the elders and the flock.

We recall that Peter already exhorted elders and leaders to show humility and submission by example, not merely by requiring them. But he also urges believers to be humble and submissive for a much more significant reason than just a change of character and attitude. Peter says in no uncertain terms, that God opposes the proud—that is the self-assured and the arrogant, but gives His Grace to the humble. So be humble and receive God's Grace instead of being conceited and face His purging discipline.

The ego must be kept in check to have its drive for self-glorification curbed. God Himself will exalt His humble children at the appropriate time. Peter drives his point home with an unequivocal admonition, urging the whole body of Christ to be humble before the Lord and surrender to His authority even when it is expressed through elders and leaders.

Pride precedes fall, a great and devastating fall. But the humble shall be preserved in the safe keeping of God our Father. He shall take care of the anxieties and frustrations of the humble and the surrendered. God will exalt His Children in Jesus Christ even as He glorified His own Son.

Notes/Applications

Peter's final charge to the church of Jesus Christ includes a few powerful attributes that equip believers for a life that is pleasing to God. Among them are: humility, submissiveness, and a bold resistance against evil. Humility and submissiveness bring believers to a position of obedience to God. Resistance to evil draws us closer to God.

Peter calls on Christians to stand fast in faith with a humble attitude and a submissive spirit, resisting evil courageously as we press onward toward glory through the persecutions and trials we experience. That is, we move forward as one cohesive body anticipating the glory to come and mirroring the Gospel in our lives and services in the meantime. Peter is simply exhorting us to follow Christ's example in His relationship with His Father, as we seek to reflect the unity we have in Him, in the practical aspects of our lives and services here on earth.

We are redeemed and made one in Christ by Christ's Death and Resurrection, by God's redeeming Grace, through a Spirit-generated faith. That divine unity is sealed by Christ's shed Blood and the Holy Spirit Who resides in us as the earnest of God's ownership. We belong to God by virtue of creation and even more by reason of redemption. So the union we have with Christ must flow into our lives so that our deliberations, decisions, conduct and actions are transformed into godly attitudes and attributes that are pleasing to God.

As a personal witness to Christ's ministry of teaching and healing, miracles, His Glory, suffering, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and the Promise of His return, Peter urges us to surrender ourselves to the Spirit of Christ in us so that His holy and righteous temperament would flow into us and become in us the prevailing frame of mind and the dominating disposition. Hence, humble and obedient as Christ, we live and serve in true faith, real humility and unreserved surrender to God and His revealed authority. Christ is our Sacrifice, our example, and our enabler. In Him, we can be humble, surrendered, and do all things for the Glory of God.

Peter urges us to look to God's unfailing-present-care and get the right perspective regarding our anxieties and frustrations. We focus on His care. We consider His Grace as the bearer of our redemption and fix our attention on the sure Hope of His Promises. Glory will replace the hardships we face. Exaltation will reward humility and surrender. And the faithful will be upheld, sustained, and comforted by the faithful One. When glory and exaltation replace suffering and humiliation, we shall know that God is glorified and our perseverance is vindicated.

Here at Practical Christianity Foundation we believe that God has mercifully extended His Grace toward us and has given us His living and Holy Word to guide us in our journey in this world. We count it privilege to come alongside you and minister to you through prayer and the sharing of God's living and holy Word. Please contact us if you have any questions concerning your faith and journey as a Christian.

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