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Commentary on 1 Peter 5. Victorious Faith

Commentary on 1 Peter 5. Victorious Faith

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8.17.14.victorius.faith.1.peter.5.commentary Document Transcript

  • 1. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 1 Session 12—Victorious Faith, Commentary. 1 Peter 5:6-11 The Point: God will strengthen and restore me. The Bible Meets Life: Society applauds the self-made person—individuals who started with nothing, and through their own determination built an empire. These may be good examples for business, but they fall short in our personal lives. Fortunately, when facing difficulties and opposition, we are not left alone. The Bible shows us what happens when we drop the self-made approach to faith and rely on God: we experience the ultimate victory. The Passage: 1 Peter 5:6-11 The Setting: As Peter drew his letter to a close, he knew he could not personally shepherd each individual believer. But God had provided seasoned Christians whom Peter challenged to shepherd the local believers through the turmoil. These leaders were to submit themselves to God, cast the cares of persecution upon Him, stay alert to Satan’s efforts to destroy their faith, and resist Satan. Anything less would allow persecution to win. Conclusion: This week’s study concludes our study from 1 Peter about developing a resilient faith that will sustain the believer through times of suffering in this life. As we have seen, this resilient faith is grounded in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Faith in anything or anyone else will prove unreliable and worthless, both in during the struggles in this present life and for eternity. Jesus Christ provides us with the only steadfast and reliable model of an enduring faith that a person can count on now and in the future as our society becomes more and more hostile toward Christians. Peter urged his readers to stand firm in their reliance on and faith in Jesus Christ during times of persecution and suffering. What current situation/s tries my faith or creates anxiety for me that I need to cast on Jesus Christ? In what areas of my life does the Devil challenge me most often? How does my behavior during challenging times support my claim that I am a child of God? On a scale of 1 (weak) to 10 (strong) how would you rate your behavior when these challenging times occur in your daily life? If your rating does not please you, ask God to reveal the areas you need God’s help to become stronger. Remember, Peter told us in 1 Peter 5:10 that He . . . will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you during your challenging times. Just ask Him! 1 Peter 5:6-7 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.
  • 2. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 2 KEY WORD: Exalt (v. 6)—literally means to lift up or to place in prominence. Metaphorically means to esteem or acclaim. The previous session ended with the recognition that God brings judgment on His own household through suffering, but He sent His Spirit to comfort and guide them through it. It is not that way with unbelievers, who do not have the promise of the Spirit or the hope of eternal life. Peter then turned to the leaders of the church, encouraging them to shepherd their flock with the hope of Jesus’ return in view (1 Peter 5:1-4). Rather than using their positions to compel obedience to their desires, they needed to keep the good of God’s flock in mind. The primary characteristic needed was humility (v. 5). He urged them to “clothe” themselves with humility, quoting Proverbs 3:34 to demonstrate that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. With this in mind, verse 6 gives a clear command to Christians. Peter began his exhortation to the suffering Christians by asking them to humble themselves. This is the verb equivalent for the adjective humble in verse 5. Peter had already explained that persecution comes to faithful Christians and is sometimes a part of God’s will for them (1 Peter 3:17). He also had reminded them not to be surprised when they faced suffering, because it is a normal part of the Christian’s experience (4:12). Peter explained that trials came as God’s purifying judgment in their lives, reminding them of a special future and affording them an opportunity to witness to those who did not believe in Him (4:17-19). To humble oneself included submission to the will of God even when that included pain and suffering. Peter asked his readers to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God. Some people assign all life’s difficulties to the devil, but Peter encouraged them that difficulties can come into a Christian’s life through God’s will. The Old Testament shows the mighty hand of God in both discipline (Exodus 3:19; 6:1; Job 30:21; Psalms 32:4) and deliverance (Deuteronomy 9:26; Ezekiel 20:34). However, this is the only time this phrase appears in the New Testament. The natural inclination of a person who suffers is to retaliate and pay back evil for evil. However, humbling oneself under the mighty hand of God is accepting what comes from His hands without grumbling, complaining, or retaliating. Why should Christians humble themselves and accept what comes from the hand of God? Why shouldn’t they retaliate or take matters into their own hands? Peter gave the purpose in the latter part of verse 6. Christians humble themselves so that God may exalt them at the proper time. God promised to lift up those whom others tore down because of their faith. Though trials are tough, for Christians they are also temporary. The promise of exaltation does not have a specific time assigned to it. God promised to exalt Christians, but only at the time of His choosing. Is that time in this lifetime or in eternity? Sometimes the exaltation takes place in life and sometimes in death. Wayne Grudem wrote, “in the time that God deems best, whether in this life or in the life to come,
  • 3. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 3 he may lift you up from your humble conditions and ‘exalt’ you in the way that seems best to him— perhaps only in terms of increased spiritual blessings and deeper fellowship with himself, perhaps also in terms of responsibility, reward, or honour which will be seen by others as well.”1 We do not remain faithful to God because we want to be exalted but because He is Lord. However, the exaltation is a nice benefit of remaining faithful to the Lord. Although God may reserve His exaltation until the end, He does not wait until then to support His people as they endure difficult circumstances. Peter used an expression from the Old Testament that encouraged God’s people to cast their burdens upon Him (Psalms 55:22). The verb tense of casting reflects a one-time, decisive event. Certainly, we have to continually cast our cares upon the Lord, but still we must have a pivotal moment when that happens. The word care is usually associated with apprehensions. It literally means drawn in different directions, divided, distracted. Worry, burdens, and anxiety distract us from God’s care and concern for us if we excessively focus on them. Rather than holding to our cares, we should release them to the Lord by faith. The reason we should cast our cares upon Him is that He cares about you. This cares is different from the word we just considered. God is neither apathetic nor sadistic. He doesn’t sit idly by as His people suffer. God is actively involved in removing suffering and restoring the believer to the place he or she should be as His child. Sometimes this happens instantly in the life of the sufferer, and sometimes it happens ultimately when the Christian dies and stands before God in eternity. Whether the time of God’s rescue is long or short, the Christian should have no reason to question His concern. Peter encouraged Christians to humbly accept what was from the hand of God by putting their worries in His hands. His care and compassion have the power both to sustain Christians in the middle of suffering and deliver them when the timing is right. 1 Peter 5:8-9 8 Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world. Though Peter encouraged Christians to cast their cares upon the Lord, he did not imply their work was finished. He encouraged them to resist Satan and remain firm in the midst of their suffering. He began with two commands designed to wake them from any slumber they might have been experiencing. First, he told them to be serious. Most modern translations use the word sober when translating this word. It can be used for the mind that
  • 4. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 4 is not under the control of alcohol, but it involves more than that. It is a spiritual sobriety, remaining clear minded in the face of an impending danger. The second word, be alert, was the word for a watchman who waited on the wall to detect the advancement of an enemy against the city. This word in the New Testament exhorted preparedness for Jesus’ return (Matthew 24:42-44; 25:13; Mark 13:35,37; Revelations 3:3; 16:15) and to diligence in steering clear of moral or doctrinal lapses (Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38; Acts 20:31; 1 Thessalonians 5:6). Even if suffering Christians have cast their cares upon the Lord, they still need to remain alert and vigilant to make sure they do not fall prey to a surprise attack from the enemy. Christians need to remain alert because they have an adversary. This is the only time the word was used in reference to Satan, and its usual meaning was an opponent in a lawsuit. This enemy was not a force or an idea but a person. Peter identified him as the Devil. The Greek word corresponds to the Hebrew, Satan. It literally meant slanderer or accuser. Certainly the devil earned that name as he slandered Job (Job 1:9- 11), Joshua the high priest (Zechariah 3:1-2), and Christians (Revelations 12:9-10). Peter created a word picture to demonstrate the enemy’s commitment to destroying people. He described him as a roaring lion prowling around seeking its prey. Like a lion who crouches in the weeds and pounces on its prey, the Devil is looking for those whom he can devour. Peter’s words bring up an interesting point. Earlier Peter was adamant that suffering came from the hand of God as judgment so that it would draw Christians closer to God and powerfully witness to those who were outside the faith (1 Peter 4:12-19). Here, he seemed to imply that suffering occurs at the paws of a roaring lion seeking victims to devour. Which is it? Is God in control of the suffering or is the Devil? Or should we explain this tension as complementary instead of contradictory? Certainly in 1 Peter 4 suffering was a result of God’s judgment upon His own household. However, was not the Devil also a part of that attack on Christians? Even though it was allowed by God, it was the Devil who carried out the attacks. As Martin Luther said, “The devil is God’s devil.” They are not two equal and opposite powers. God is sovereign, while the Devil can only work in deception and lies. He prowls but has no power unless it is conceded to him. Those who suffer for their faith without joy and humility may open themselves up to even more destruction from the enemy because they do not face their suffering with the right mindset. Peter suggested two definite actions against the enemy. First, he pleaded for Christians to resist him. This represents active opposition. It described Elymas’s opposition to the gospel (Acts 13:8) and Paul’s stand against Peter’s hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11). It reflected Jannes and Jambres’s action against Moses (2 Tim. 3:8) and Alexander’s hostility to Paul (2 Timothy 4:14-15). Its closest usage to this passage is James 4:7, “Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.” For Christians, Satan can roar and prowl all he wants, but believers are told to resist his lies and accusations. In addition to resisting the Devil, Peter called upon Christians to remain firm in the faith. The best
  • 5. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 5 chance of resisting the Devil is for Christians to remain steadfast in the faith, firmly and confidently maintaining trust in God, His sovereignty, His power, and His love. Christians had to take their stand against the Devil by holding fast to God and not compromising their faith. Peter reminded them that as they stood firm in the faith, they would share in the same sufferings as other Christians throughout the world. One thing New Testament Christians had in common was suffering for the cause of Christ. They were not singled out to suffer while other Christians thrived in prosperity. Satan is an indiscriminate enemy, and suffering shows no favoritism. The same sufferings probably does not refer to the same means of suffering but to a common plight all Christians faced by suffering in various ways. Scattered throughout the world, Christians continue to face opposition from those who do not embrace the truths of the gospel. 1 Peter 5:10-11 10 Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little. 11 The dominion belongs to Him forever. Amen. Peter brought his letter to a conclusion thematically in verses 10-11 by expressing a doxology, or a hymn of praise. The hymn began with reassurance the God of all grace would rescue His people from their suffering. Peter held tightly to the idea of God’s grace (1 Peter 1:2,13; 3:7; 4:10; 5:5,12). He knew they deserved to suffer much more than they had, but by God’s grace and Jesus’ death on the cross they received forgiveness for the sins that separated them from God. We might get angry with God and bitter toward Him when we suffer, but it would not be justified. He has given us better than we deserve no matter how much suffering we endure. Peter spoke of God’s calling to eternal glory in Christ Jesus. No matter what Christians endure, we have the hope of eternity with Christ. However, before the glorious time of Christ’s return, Christians will still suffer. Peter delivered four powerful promises of what God would do for those who suffer. The first is that He would personally restore them. The Greek means to make complete or to put in order. Medically, it was used for the setting of a broken bone. As a doctor would set a broken bone for healing, Peter promised God would set the world in order. Sometimes this happens in the sufferer’s lifetime, but sometimes it awaits the return of Christ. This word also described making a damaged boat seaworthy again. As a craftsman would stabilize a sinking boat, so would God restore His people from periods of suffering. Peter had firsthand experience with the restorative power of God. He had denied Jesus three times one evening. As a result, he went back to his fishing boat even though Jesus had called him to be a fisher of
  • 6. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 6 men. But when he met Christ on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus restored the wandering disciple to his rightful place as an under-shepherd of God’s flock (John 21:15-19). If God restored Peter even though he suffered for his own poor decisions, how much more would God provide for those who suffered for righteousness. The second promise Peter gave to those who were suffering is that God would establish them. The Greek means to make strong in the sense of resolute, unfaltering. Jesus used this word in Luke 22:31-32 when warning Peter of his approaching denial of Jesus. He told Peter that after he was restored from that act he was to “strengthen your brothers” (emphasis added). So Peter had firsthand experience with God’s strengthening power in his life. The third promise for sufferers was that God would strengthen them. Though this word is similar to the previous word, it is not as common—only used in the New Testament on this occasion. This word also indicates a strengthening in the firmness of one’s resolve. The final promise is that God would support those who suffered for righteousness. This word describes the setting of a firm foundation that could support Christians in their trials. Since God was building His household with the living stones of the church (1 Peter 2:5), His followers needed a solid foundation. Peter had already indicated that the foundation was Jesus Christ, the cornerstone (1 Peter 2:5-6). These promises remained effective even though the Christians suffered a little. Again, Peter wanted believers to know that suffering was temporal. The suffering of this lifetime would seem brief when compared to eternity. The doxology ended with an expression of praise. Peter admitted that dominion belonged to the Lord alone. The early church lived in an era of tremendous authority for the Roman Empire. They controlled life in the empire, and politically and culturally brought to those they conquered a common language and culture. However, as great as the Roman Empire was at that time, their dominion paled in comparison to the kingdom of God. God’s kingdom is everlasting (Daniel 4:3) and not of the present world (John 18:36). It is a kingdom where both righteousness and peace reign (Roman 4:17). In the face of suffering in the present life, Peter acknowledged that God still exercised dominion. Unlike the Roman Empire, the reign of God is forever. This provides the hope that though a Christian may suffer, he still has hope as he looks forward to a day when suffering will end and God will put everything in order. Relying on God’s promises to strengthen and restore us, the Christian can endure extremely difficult circumstances and still have faith in the goodness of God. LIVE IT OUT What will you do to trust God for strength and restoration this week? Which activity fits you best?
  • 7. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 7 Receive Christ. To participate in God’s full work of restoration, you must accept by faith His saving work of redemption through Jesus Christ. If you have never trusted in Christ as Savior and Lord, do so today. Read, “What Does Love Look Like?” (inside front cover) to guide you as you reach out to the Lord. Be prepared for attack. Decide today to stand against Satan’s attacks, especially if you are in the midst of a difficult situation. This week, memorize 1 John 4:4: “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (KJV), and James 4:7: “Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.” When you are tempted to despair, use the Word of God to defeat Satan’s attacks. Be a channel of God’s strength. Ask God to place on your heart the name of one person who is suffering through a trial you have experienced yourself. Contact the person this week to establish a regular time to visit, listen, pray with, and support him or her. Continue as long as God leads. When you’re in need of strength and restoration, don’t worry about how to “let go and let God”—or any other catchy phrase. Simply remember that our Lord Jesus is the only sure place to ground your hope, and seek Him for your next step. DIGGING DEEPER: Exalt—From the Greek word hupsoo, to exalt in 5:6 means “to raise up” or “to lift up.” As the Savior was eventually exalted (according to God’s perfect timing) as Lord, so His people can be assured of their ultimate exaltation as the victorious people of God. While that is the believer’s ultimate destiny, it is also true that the Lord will lift His people out of their present-day pitfalls, out of their perils, and out of their problems according to their willingness to continually be humbling themselves before Him. Exaltation, not humiliation, is the ultimate goal. Exalt: To exalt (v. 6: hupsoo) is “to lift up on high; to raise to a place of dignity; honor, and happiness.” The word can be used literally or figuratively. Whether in this earthly life or at the last day, at the right time. God will raise up His people to know the honor, glory, and joy of heaven with Him. (Eg-zôlt´ ‫,םּור‬ rūm, ‫ָּג‬‫ב‬ַ‫ּה‬, gābhah [mappı̄ḳ hē], ‫נ‬ַ‫ַש‬‫א‬, nāsāʼ; ὑψόω, hupsóō ): The Hebrew word most often translated “exalt,” “exalted,” is rūm; “to lift up,” “to be or become high.” It is used with reference to both God and man, e.g. Ex 15:2, “My father’s God, and I will exalt him”; Ps 99:5, 9, “Exalt ye Yahweh our God”; compare 107:32; 118:28; 1 Samuel 2:10, “Exalt the horn of his anointed”; Job 17:4, “Therefore shalt thou not exalt them”. Compare Isaiah 13:2 the King James Version; 14:13; gābhah, “to be high,” figuratively “to be exalted,” occurs in Job 36:7; Proverbs 17:19 the King James Version; Isaiah 5:16, etc.; nāsāʼ, “to lift up,” occurs in Nu 24:7; 1
  • 8. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 8 Ch 29:11, etc.; other words are ṣālal, “to raise up” (Exodus 9:17; Proverbs 4:8), sāghabh (Job 5:11; 36:22 the King James Version; Isaiah 2:11, 17; 12:4; 33:5), rāmam, “to be high” (Job 24:24; Ps 118:16). In the New Testament “exalt” is the translation of hupsóō, “to elevate” (not used with reference to God) (Mt 11:23; 23:12; Acts 2:33; 2 Corinthians 11:7; 1 Pet 5:6, etc.); also (twice) of epaı́rō, “to lift up, upon or against” (2 Corinthians 10:5; 11:20), once of huperaı́rō, “to lift up above” (2 Thessalonians 2:4); in 2 Corinthians 12:7 bis, this word is translated “exalted above measure,” the Revised Version (British and American) “exalted overmuch”; huperupsóō, “to lift up above” (Philippians 2:9), is translated “highly exalted”; húpsos, “elevation,” is translated “exalted” (Jas 1:9, the Revised Version (British and American) “high estate”). For “it increaseth” (Job 10:16), the Revised Version (British and American) gives “and if my head exalt itself”; instead of “God exalteth by His, power” (Job 36:22), “God doeth loftily in his power”; for “though thou exalt thyself as the eagle” (Obadiah 1:4), “mount on high”; for “highly esteemed” (Luke 16:15) “exalted”; for “exalteth itself” (2 Corinthians 10:5), “is exalted”; for “He shall lift you up” (James 4:10), “He shall exalt you.” Self-exaltation is strongly condemned, especially by Christ; humbleness is the way to true exaltation (Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; 18:14; compare James 4:10; 1 Pet 5:6); the supreme example is that of Christ Himself (Philippians 2:5-11). ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND READING: GRACE By Jerry M. Windsor, associate professor of preaching, The Baptist College of Florida, Graceville, Florida. THERE WERE TWO TIMES in my life when I should have been fired from my job and was not. One was when I worked in the display advertising department of a large daily newspaper. In the rush of meeting a daily deadline, I switched the newspaper advertisements of the two largest grocery competitors in town. The mistake never went to press, but had it not been for a sharp proofreader, my major error could have caused great harm to our newspaper and the grocery store accounts. My other serious misdeed was when I worked at a bakery. Due to a mix-up on my part, other employees had to cover for me and the whole department suffered because of my mistake. In both cases my supervisors talked with me, corrected me, and retained me. I deserved to be fired both times, but my supervisors saved me.
  • 9. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 9 The apostle Paul knew something about favors granted for no logical reason. In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul spoke of the grace of God that is foundational to God’s redemptive plan for people. A helpful insight about Ephesians is that it probably was a general letter intended for all the churches of the Roman province of Asia. The oldest documents of this letter do not have “in Ephesus” in 1:1, indicating that the letter was a general and circular letter for all the churches and not just the church in Ephesus. A. T. Robertson pointed out in his Word Pictures in the New Testament that perhaps the original copy had no place name in 1:1 but only a plank space.1 Therefore, we gladly and legitimately place the name of our own church in that space as we realize these great truths are valid for us today also. Ephesians is a theological treatise, a practical letter, and a devotional writing. The theme of Ephesians is that God is working out His great plan of redemption by calling men and women to Christ and thereby forming a redeemed society. The redeemed are God’s heritage, God’s building, God’s body, and God’s elect. God has blessed us (Ephesians 1:3). God has chosen us (v. 4). The Lord God has predestinated us (v. 5) and by grace has made us acceptable (v. 6) to Himself. He has redeemed us in Christ Jesus (v. 7) and has forgiven us of our sins (v. 7). He has made His will known to us (v. 11) and sealed us to Himself (vv.13-14). Paul could not help but burst out into a praise prayer of intercession for the church (vv. 15-19) as believers came under the authority of the resurrected Christ. The sweep of God’s grace included Jews and Gentiles, heaven and earth, past and present, and ages to come (vv. 20-23). The church is filled with the spirit of Christ under the headship, authority, and lordship of Christ. We are all saved by grace alone, faith alone, and Christ alone. There are not three plans of salvation. The Old Testament, New Testament, and present testimony of God’s Spirit is that grace and faith are given and received in Christ Jesus. The word grace is a foundational word in this first chapter of Ephesians. Paul stated that it is a glorious grace (v. 6), a great grace (v. 7), and a given grace (v. 8). The word charis is the New Testament word for “grace” in this first chapter and it means “divine favor and mercy.” Grace is especially associated with freeness and spontaneity. The term is in contrast to works and debt. W. E. Vine pointed out in his dictionary of biblical words that in Ephesians 1:6, grace is freely given; not earned, but received as one who has been unexpectedly bestowed or given a favor.2 Grace is not easily understood. We live in a tradition and a culture where we feel we have to “earn” all rewards and favors. Our society teaches us that work brings rewards and effort and energy are paid off by perks, salaries, and bonuses.
  • 10. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 10 Farmers could teach us a lesson. They plant one grain of corn, and it brings forth a stalk that may have five ears of corn and 700 grains of corn per ear. The one grain is multiplied by the gifts of good soil, sunshine, and rain. God’s grace brings multiplied fruit even after human efforts have been laid by. Paul felt God’s grace in a personal way. He wanted the readers of his letter to experience the joy of knowing Christ as Savior (v. 6-8) and Lord in all of life. God’s grace was given in election (vv. 1-6), salvation (vv.7-10), calling (vv. 11-14), and lordship (vv. 15-23). This was a comprehensive plan from before creation (v. 4) throughout all of eternity (v. 21). In 1989 I heard Colonel Nimrod McNair speak at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Tallahassee, Florida. He stated that many things had happened to him in life, and he felt he needed to wear a sign around his neck and said, “I am under consturuction.”3 Grace does not leave us alone. In the salutation of Ephesians Paul gave us the Father’s voice (vv. 1-2). Paul then told us the Father’s choice (vv. 3-6). Next, Paul wrote of the Father’s plan (vv. 7-10), then the Father’s mind (vv. 11-14), and His ministry (vv. 15-23). God is actively working on our behalf. He works through the redemptive ministry of the Lord Jesus and the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. This is done on the basis of divine choice and not human merit. Grace works freely, profoundly, and absolutely. Thomas A. Dorsey wrote the hymn “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.” He and gospel singer Willie Mac Ford Smith sang and recorded a lesser known but very moving gospel song entitled “Jesus Dropped the Charges.” This is what grace is all about. It is sin denounced and Christ uplifted. Paul knew the glory of that kind of grace and prayed that all believers might experience it in Christ. Grace must always precede peace (v. 2). We cannot know God’s peace until we have personally experienced God’s grace. Paul had come to know God through Jesus, and he wanted to share with everyone the great blessings that God’s grace brings. Paul then went into a litany of spiritual rewards that come from God’s favor and grace. There is the work of God the Father, “to the praise of his glorious grace” (v. 6, NIV). There is the work of the Son, “for the praise of his glory” (v. 12, NIV), and the work of the Spirit, “to the praise of his glory” (v. 14, NIV). This is not the Trinity in theory, but the Trinity in action. God chose to act before the creation of the world. All is to the praise of His glory.4 There are at least nine spiritual blessings that come to each of us in Jesus (vv. 3-14). We do not earn these blessings any more than we earn Christmas gifts or birthday gifts, but these are given by Christ to all believers. By His grace He has blesses us (v. 3). By His grace He has chosen us (v. 4). He has also predestinated us (v. 5) and made us acceptable (v. 6). The Lord Jesus has redeemed us (v. 7), forgiven us (v. 7), and made His will known to us (v. 9). Our Lord has given us an inheritance (vv. 11, 14) and has sealed us in the Holy Spirit *v. 13).5
  • 11. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 11 The gifts or blessings of God’s grace are contrary to our laws of logic and reason. We have difficulty accepting God’s grace because we know we are unacceptable. No amount of self-analysis or self-esteem seminars can get us over the hump of feeling as if we have sinned, fallen short, and failed. We throw away broken things because we lack the time, interest, skill, and desire to fox them. We discard broken things but God collects broken people. Paul saw that only grace could bring the miracles of election, redemption, and eternal fellowship with Jesus Christ. Grace is unmerited. By its definition the New Testament word for “grace” means “undeserved.” No one has earned God’s grace. B. F. Westcoff stated that Paul never used charis to speak of human grace.6 Grace is unmotivated. No one and no thing prompted God to choose us. Christ chose us in the redemptive plan of God before the foundation of the earth. God’s plan and not man’s actions motivated the work of the cross. Grace is unmatched. There is nothing like it. Paul challenged the Christians in Ephesus and other churches to live differently and be different because God’s grace is sufficient to save and bring peace in a hurting society. Grace is unmoved. Grace is not temporary. Grace is not capricious. Grace is not transient. Grace is stable and sure. Paul wrote Ephesians from some kind of imprisonment or confinement. Yet in the Lord Jesus, he experienced grace and peace that passes all understanding. GLORY The Meaning By Jerry M. Windsor, Associate Professor of Preaching, Florida Baptist Theological College, Graceville, Florida. FIVE TIMES IN MY LIFE I have experienced God’s glory. · On June 28, 1956, at Shocco Springs Baptist Assembly near Talladega, Alabama, I felt God call me to preach as a 16-year-old boy. · In the winter of 1956 I was invited to preach a Saturday night youth rally at Oneonta, Alabama, and numerous teenagers made decisions for Christ. The glory of God came down. · As a first-year student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary I was reading The Diary of Hudson Taylor, and the glory of the Lord overwhelmed me. · In my first pastorate I was faced with a problem that could not be avoided, and the glory of God came upon me at a crisis time and assured me that “everything was going to be all right.”
  • 12. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 12 · Years later I was faced with a number of crucial vocational choices. I came before the Lord asking for purity of heart and wisdom in decision making. The Lord told me plainly but not vocally that I was to pay off a personal debt, return a book that I had borrowed, and make a donation of an artifact to one of our Baptist seminaries. Upon doing this, I had that peace that passes all understanding and the certain glory of God’s mighty presence and power. God’s glory is the mighty, weighty presence of God upon our lives in an overpowering, dynamic way. It may be a theophany of physical or spiritual occurrence. It may be visual (as Moses saw the burning bush), vocal (as Paul heard the voice of Jesus on the road to Damascus), or visceral (as Jonah had an internal urge and compulsion to go to Nineveh). But however it comes, it is a mind-changing, heart-moving, powerful encounter with Almighty God. According to Young’s Analytical Concordance two primary words are translated “glory” in the King James Version.1 The most prominent word for “glory” in the Old Testament is Kabod [kah BODH], and the most used word in the New Testament translated “glory” is doxa [DOX ah]. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word Kabod denotes weight, substance (Genesis. 45:13; Psalms 49:16), and honor that true worth commands.2 The word may refer to weight as a burden (Exodus 18:18; Psalms 38:4), or it could also mean weight as importance or consideration. This may refer to God’s glory or the glory of man. In the Old Testament the Bible speaks clearly of glory as related to men. Glory is seen in riches (Psalms 49:16; Isa. 61:6), in the Assyrian army (Isaiah. 8:7), in the trees of Lebanon (Isaiah. 60:13), in reputation (Job 29:20; Psalms 4:2), and in spiritual condition (Psalms 8:5). Glory in the lives of men includes the external as well as the internal qualities that come to man at the point of creation.3 At no time is this glory seen as a person-made disposition only. There is certainly earthly glory that speaks of wealth, pride, and prestige (Job 19:9; Isaiah 10:3; Hos. 9:11), but it would be impossible to say all the weighty honor came only by the hand of man. This glory is not so much what something or someone might bestow upon God, but rather the quality of weight, honor, and importance that is already present in God. We only recognize it. We only declare it. It is already there.4 As Kabod is the Hebrew word in the Old Testament that most often is translated “glory,” the New Testament counterpart is doxa. In early Greek in Homer and Herodotus the word doxa expressed expectation, judgment, and opinion. Only later did the word come to mean prestige, honor, splendor, and radiance.5 The Holman Bible Dictionary suggested that in the New Testament doxa is pointing to God’s glory.6 Thayer in his lexicon stated that the context will show how one may give glory to God and cited New Testament examples. One may give or ascribe glory to God by expressing gratitude for a benefit received from God (Luke 17:18). Thayer stated that other ways to give glory to God include trusting God’s promises (Romans 4:20), celebrating His praises (Revelations 4:9-11; 11:13; 14:7; 19:7), rendering due honor to His majesty (Acts 12:23.)
  • 13. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 13 Acknowledging that God knows all things and showing that you believe it by the confessions that you make (John 9:24).7 In 2 Corinthians 3 Paul used tradition, emotion, logic, common sense, and Scripture to show he was an authentic apostle and messenger of Jesus Christ. Paul boldly yet humbly charted the way for all ministers as he shared his motivation for service. Paul had respect for all men but feared only God. He cogently laid out the role of a minister with its frustrations and rewards. Traditionally a minister uses references and resources. Paul did not disavow that practice but claimed the emotional argument that his best references were the changed lives of the Corinthian Christians (3:1-5). Logically a ministry that is built on the resurrected Christ is superior to any manufactured document. G. R. Beasley-Murray in his commentary writings on this passage stated that the Lord always effectively uses preachers who know their own weaknesses, stay near the cross, and throw themselves upon the mercy and work of the Holy Spirit.8 Moses needed to wear a veil, but in Jesus Christ that veil is removed for all who turn to the Lord in faith, repentance and obedience (3:16). We can see God’s glory in Christ Jesus. We can see God’s glory as we read of Him in Scripture, as we serve others, and they serve us. We feel that imprint of many personalities on our lives, and likewise we leave influences and impressions on others. But greater still is that eternal impact of the Lord Jesus in every believer’s life. This confrontation with God’s grace causes each of Christ’s followers to grow in His likeness. Paul saw that freedom, light, service, and growth were available for each one in Christ. There is no fading away and this is no temporary condition. The Holy Spirit assisted Paul and will assist every believer in reflecting Jesus Christ. Mirrors in those days were made of flat pieces of cast metal or bronze and had to be continuously polished to properly reflect the desired image. The indwelling Holy Spirit gives vigorous cleaning to every Christian who permits it and desires to reflect Jesus Christ. No sin, no action, or habit need be hidden. God’s Holy spirit polished the life of every believer that we might reflect Jesus Christ more accurately (3:18). Paul honored Christ because he knew Christ’s glory was God’s glory. If you want to see God, look at Jesus. The glory of Christ is the focal point of the universe. Jesus Christ is the primary object of all creation, adoration, and worship (4:1-6). Some people made personal and professional charges against Paul. Yet in all his experiences Paul desired to honor Christ. Pain, suffering, persecution, stress, and conflict were endured (4:9-11), but God’s glory was always his focal point. From his conversion on the road to Damascus until his death, Paul believed that experiencing God’s weighty might and presence was to leave one humble and transformed. Giving his life as an expression of the glory of God was Paul’s aim and every born-again believer’s duty.
  • 14. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 14 HUMILITY By Kendall H. Easley Kendall Easley is Associate Professor of New Testament and Greek, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, Memphis, Tennessee. THE ENGLISH WORD “humble” often expresses the positive attitude of “lacking arrogance” or “not haughty.” We generally admire this kind of humble person. “Humble” can also express a neutral attitude of “deference to another person,” as in “a humble apology.” “Humble” also can convey the undesirable sense of “low status” on a social, economic, or other scale, as in “a humble dishwasher.” We do not usually aspire to this kind of humility. In the New Testament five Greek terms belong to the “humility” word group and they occur 34 times. The first three are simple forms found in both the Gospels and the Epistles; the last two are compounds found only in the Epistles. The main idea for each, along with their frequency, is as follows: · tapeinos (adjective)—humble, lowly (8 times); · tapeinosis (noun)—humility, lowliness, humiliation (4 times); · tapeinoo (verb)—I (make) humble, I make low (14 times; · tapeinophron (adjective)—humble in thinking (1 time); · tapeinophrosume (noun)—humility in thinking (7 times). Matthew and Luke together account for 11 instances; Acts has 2; Paul’s letters have 13 instances; James and 1 Peter have 4 each.1 These terms are not found in Mark nor in John’s writings. In Classical Greek The original classical sense of the tapein-group was literal. The terms referred to an object that was physically low lying, below something else. Soon, however, tapein-words came to be used figuratively of persons. People were considered “low” for a variety of reasons. Usually this characteristic was undesirable or even shameful for the Greeks. 1. Being in poverty, with resulting low social or economic status; 2. Lacking freedom, being enslaved (actually, or those with a slavish attitude);
  • 15. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 15 3. Being downcast or “depressed” (as in English, “I feel low”); 4. Groveling or flattering (in a negative sense); 5. Unassuming, obedient (in a positive sense, quite rare). The two compound words (combined with the verb phroneo, “think”) developed later. In secular Greek these compound forms always had a strong negative sense of something to be avoided: thinking poorly or amiss, being faint-hearted, or having a cringing attitude. Tapein-words occur in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) about 270 times, translating several Hebrew words. What is surprising is that the translators used tapein-words in a positive way as something for God’s people to desire eagerly. These are often placed opposite the pride that God hates. God brings down the proud and arrogant and blesses the lowly. A good example is Psalm 10:17: “O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear.”2 In Jesus’ Life and Teachings Jesus did not teach in Greek, but the inspired gospel writers used tapein-words to report His teachings. He forever made humility desirable. He chose it, lived by it, and taught it. Many of His first followers had low social or economic status, but He was more concerned that they reject pride. He said, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am “humble in heart” with “gentle,” Jesus meant the attitude and behavior that rejects pretentious or arrogant ways. Those with this perspective live without having to be noticed. Paul explained Jesus’ attitude this way: “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians. 2:8). Matthew 18:1-14 records one of Jesus’ extensive teachings on humility. For Him, humility was a voluntary attitude rather than a social status imposed by life’s circumstances. He insisted that people express childlike faith to be part of His kingdom: “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). John’s Gospel does not use any of the tapein-terms. It contains, however, one of the greatest examples of personal lowliness: Jesus washed the apostles’ feet as a common slave would (John 13:1-15). In the Apostles’ Teachings The apostles followed their Master in practicing humility. They chose to submit themselves to one another and to the Lord Christ. They rejected pride or self-seeking and never “strutted their own stuff.” Often the surrounding society responded by giving them low social status. A good example is Paul’s testimony in Acts 20:19: “[I was] serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews.”
  • 16. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 16 This verse illustrates an interesting development. Paul used a compound form of humility (tapeinophrosuné), emphasizing that a humble mindset or attitude is the primary concern—despite secular society considering this to be shameful. A trace of the original negative sense is found in Paul’s warning to avoid humility for humility’s sake. There is a false humility that ends up being self-serving (see Col. 2:18,23, where tapeinophrosune is translated “self-abasement” in NASB). Nobody is more detested than one who is “humble and proud of it.” In the First Epistle of Peter Of all the epistles that use the tapein-words, 1 Peter was likely the last to be composed. Peter masterfully used four different words in his four uses of the concept: é · “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble (tapeinophrónes) in spirit” (3:8). · “Clothe yourselves with humility (tapeinophrosunén) toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble (tapeinois). Therefore humble (tapeinothete) yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (5:5b-6). In light of all we have learned so far, the original readers would interpret Peter’s teaching as follows: 1. I must understand humility based on its scriptural roots rather than it secular Greek meaning. First Peter 5:5 quotes the Greek Old Testament version of Proverbs 3:34 to reinforce its teaching. God hates proud people and blesses the humble, even though secular society may think such humility is disgraceful. 2. Humility is the willing attitude expressed when I reject pride, submit eagerly to God’s will, and put the needs of others first in word and deed. Nobody can force humility. It is voluntary. First Peter 3:8 is all about encouraging Christians to relate will to others; so is the fuller command of 1 Peter 5:5-6. 3. Jesus is my greatest Model of humility. Peter’s vivid picture of “putting on” humility as a garment (5:5) is surely based on his memory that once Jesus literally clothed Himself as a slave and washed Peter’s feet (John 13:1-15). 4. Active humility may result in my having low status before people, but one day God will give high status to all His humble followers. One early Greek meaning of “humble” was “having low social status.” Jesus’ followers are sometimes despised or ill treated (given low status by society) because they submit to God and put others first. When this occurs, believers are to be confident in spite of their adversity. In due time God will exalt them and openly confess that they are great in His kingdom (Matthew18:4).
  • 17. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 17 DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES: THE LAWS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE (1) (1 Peter 5:6-11) by Dr. William Barclay. Under the mighty hand of God that in his good time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxiety upon him because he cares for you. Be sober; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Stand up to him, staunch in the faith, knowing how to pay the same tax of suffering as your brethren in the world. And after you have experienced suffering for a little while, the God of every grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish. strengthen, settle you. To him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. Here Peter speaks in imperatives, laying down certain laws for the Christian life. (1) There is the law of humility before God. The Christian must humble himself under his mighty hand. The phrase the mighty hand of God is common in the Old Testament; and it is most often used in connection with the deliverance, which God wrought for his people when he brought them out of Egypt. "With a strong hand," said Moses, "the Lord has brought you out of Egypt" (Exodus 13:9). "Thou hast only begun to show thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand" (Deuteronomy 3:24). God brought his people forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand (Deuteronomy 9:26). The idea is that God's mighty hand is on the destiny of his people, if they will humbly and faithfully accept his guidance. After all the varied experiences of life, Joseph could say to the brothers who had once sought to eliminate him: "As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good" (Genesis 50:20). The Christian never resents the experiences of life and never rebels against them, because he knows that the mighty hand of God is on the tiller of his life and that he has a destiny for him. (2) There is the law of Christian serenity in God. The Christian must cast all his anxiety upon God. "Cast your burden on the Lord," said the Psalmist (Psalms 55:22). "Do not be anxious about tomorrow," said Jesus (Matthew 6:25-34). The reason we can do this with confidence is that we can be certain that God cares for us. As Paul had it, we can be certain that he who gave us his only Son will with him give us all things (Romans 8:32). We can be certain that, since God cares for us, life is out not to break us but to make us; and, with that assurance, we can accept any experience which comes to us, knowing that in everything God works for good with those who love him (Romans 8:28).
  • 18. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 18 (3) There is the law of Christian effort and of Christian vigilance. We must be sober and watchful. The fact that we cast everything upon God does not give us the right to sit back and to do nothing. Cromwell's advice to his troops was: "Trust in God, and keep your powder dry." Peter knew how hard this vigilance was, for he remembered how in Gethsemane he and his fellow-disciples slept when they should have been watching with Christ (Matthew 26:38-46). The Christian is the man who trusts but at the same time puts all his effort and all his vigilance into the business of living for Christ. (4) There is the law of Christian resistance. The devil is ever out to see whom he can ruin. Again Peter must have been remembering how the devil had overcome him and he had denied his Lord. A man's faith must be like a solid wall against which the attacks of the devil exhaust themselves in vain. The devil is like any bully and retreats when he is bravely resisted in the strength of Jesus Christ. THE LAWS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE (2) (1 Peter 5:6-11 continued) (5) Finally, Peter speaks of the law of Christian suffering. He says that, after the Christian has gone through suffering, God will restore, establish, strengthen and settle him. Every one of the words that Peter uses has behind it a vivid picture. Each tells us something about what suffering is designed by God to do for a man. (a) Through suffering God will restore a man. The word for restore is difficult in this case to translate. It is kartarizein, the word commonly used for setting a fracture, the word used in Mark 1:19 for mending nets. It means to supply that which is missing, to mend that which is broken. So suffering, if accepted in humility and trust and love, can repair the weaknesses of a man's character and add the greatness that so far is not there. It is said that Sir Edward Elgar once listened to a young girl singing a solo from one of his own works. She had a voice of exceptional purity and clarity and range, and an almost perfect technique. When she had finished, Sir Edward said softly, "She will be really great when something happens to break her heart." Barrie tells how his mother lost her favourite son, and then says, "That is where my mother got her soft eyes, and that is why other mothers ran to her when they had lost a child." Suffering had done something for her that an easy way could never have done. Suffering is meant by God to add the grace notes to life. (b) Through suffering God will establish a man. The word is sterixein that means to make as solid as granite. Suffering of body and sorrow of heart do one of two things to a man. Either they make him collapse or they leave him with a solidity of character that he could never have gained anywhere else. If he meets them with continuing trust in Christ, he emerges like toughened steel that has been tempered in the fire. (c) Through suffering God will strengthen a man. The Greek is sthenoun that means to fill with strength. Here is the same sense again. A life with no effort and no discipline almost inevitably becomes a flabby life. No one really knows what his faith means to him until it has been tried in the furnace of affliction. There is something doubly precious about a faith that has come victoriously through pain and sorrow and disappointment. The wind will extinguish a weak flame; but it will fan a strong flame into a still greater blaze. So it is with faith. (d) Through suffering God will settle a man. The Greek is themelioun, which means to lay the foundations.
  • 19. JOHN R. WIBLE IS THE EDITOR OF THIS MATERIAL WHICH IS DERIVED FROM CONVENTION SERIES LITERATURE OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, THE HERSHEL HOBBS COMMENTARY, ADVANCED BIBLE STUDY, BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ADDITIONAL MATERIALS FROM THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. COMMENTARY FROM THE DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES BY DR. WILLIAM BARCLAY AND COMMENTARY BY DR. E. I. SCOFIELD MAY ALSO BE INCLUDED. NO ORIGINAL WORK IS CLAIMED BY THE EDITOR EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED. Page 19 When we have to meet sorrow and suffering, we are driven down to the very bedrock of faith. It is then that we discover what the things that cannot be shaken are. It is in time of trial that we discover the great truths on which real life is founded. Suffering is very far from doing these precious things for every man. It may well drive a man to bitterness and despair; and may well take away such faith as he has. But if it is accepted in the trusting certainty that a father's hand will never cause his child a needless tear, then out of suffering come things that the easy way may never bring.