1 Peter Part 20
1 Peter 5:5–7
The Power of Humility
- (5a) LIKEWISE
- (5c) CLOTHE YOURSELVES
III. (6-7) HUMBLE YOURSELVES
- (5a) LIKEWISE: As the Elders are to take their proper role even in these extreme circumstances, the rest of the congregation needs to do the same.
If God has commissioned some to shepherd, then He has also commissioned some to be shepherdED.
The term “you who are younger” is somewhat misleading in English – it is more like “you who are NOT-elders”.
The 1st point is, that the pressing issues of their strained circumstances doesn’t give the people leave to abandon the Church and the way God meant it function.
It is up to all of us to: a. re-establish church order it if it has suffered disarray;
- to strengthen it if it is suffering under pressures, neglect or abuse;
- or protect it if it is working well.
The Church is God’s means of preserving His presence, His message and His purposes in the world.
Whether it is wounded or well.
It is incumbent upon all those born again – Elders and NOT-elders, to try and see it established, upheld and strengthened.
- (5c) Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
There may be something here building off of the “LIKEWISE” to draw from vss. 1-4 which we looked at last time.
If the call to the Elders is to Shepherd the flock they find themselves among – the ones through exile and providence they find themselves in the midst of – so – or LIKEWISE, those who are not elders, are be subject to (in Church order) those Elders that through God’s Providence in exile – they now find themselves among.
It is a mutual submission to the hand of God in Providence bringing them together.
There is to be no: “I don’t like these new elders I have to contend with when I liked my former ones so much more – I think I’ll leave” – NOR – “I don’t like this congregation as much as the ones I had before, I think I’ll shop around for something better.”
In both groups accepting the Providence of God in their exile and strained circumstances being the occasion of having brought them together – so now, both of you – advance the Church and your own growth in Christ BY – submitting to His hand.
This is the summing injunction.
And there may be something in the simile Peter uses of “clothing” ourselves in humility. Something like using humility to cover up our sinfulness toward one another – Perhaps like Isa. 61:3 where God promises to give a garment of praise for the faint spirit. It is not being disingenuous; it is being modest. It is covering our defects.
But note Here: Peter finally gives the BIG answer that has been looming in the background for so many from the start of this letter:
1:3-6 / HOW do we keep our eyes on the “living hope” so that we rejoice instead of being overwhelmed?
HOW do we maintain the “joy that is inexpressible” of 1:8?
HOW do we set our hope fully on the grace that will be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ in 1:13?
HOW do we prevent being conformed to the passions of our former ignorance and instead be holy as God is holy as in 1:14-16?
HOW do we keep in mind that we were redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ as in 1:18-19?
HOW do we love one another from a pure heart as in 1:22?
HOW do we put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, and create longing for the pure spiritual milk that makes us grow up into salvation? 2:1-2
HOW do we fulfill our role as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that we may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light? 2:9-10
HOW do we abstain from the passions of the flesh that war against the soul and keep our conduct among the unbelievers honorable under their rejection and persecution? 2:11-12
HOW do we submit ourselves rightly to human institutions and even corrupt secular governments in righteousness without compromise? 2:13-17
HOW do Christians submit to unjust “masters” and remain gracious when suffering unjustly? 2:18-21
HOW do we keep from retaliating but rather bless when abused? 2:22-25
HOW do Believers stay sweet and godly if married to an unsaved spouse? 3:1-6
HOW do we husbands live with our wives in an understanding way showing them honor? 3:7
HOW do we always honor Christ the Lord as holy in our hearts? 3:15
HOW do we live cognizant that the end of all things is at hand, and so live self-controlled and sober-mindedly for the sake of our prayers? 4:7-9
HOW do we best steward our gifts to bless the body of Believers? 4:10-11
There is only one way – we need abundant, supernatural, never ceasing GRACE!
Grace, the gifts of God in His indwelling Spirit.
Grace which He gives – to the humble.
While in contrast – He actively opposes in the proud.
Humility then is key to living out this life of both revealing the glories of Christ in this dark world, and, in bearing up under the reality of our sufferings being precursors to the final judgment to come.
This is only natural in that such humility is absolutely fundamental to salvation itself.
In coming to Christ, I must come to grips with my utter need of Him, rejecting any thoughts of my own goodness or worthiness.
We see this in great clarity in Matthew 9:10–13 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The implication is plain: These Pharisees thought they did not need a Savior. They were righteous in themselves.
And here, Jesus tells them that if they will not acknowledge their need, they can’t be saved!
You here today – if you will not reckon yourself a sinner, sick with that deadly disease and in need of a Savior and that all is lost – you cannot be saved.
If you know you need mercy because you know your own guilt, you are of all men most blessed – for He delights to show it.
No one comes to Christ for salvation but humbly – knowing their own personal guilt and shame and unworthiness, and knowing that Christ owes them nothing – but saves out of His own free grace.
Christians too clothe themselves in humility by receiving God’s Word as it is – God’s Word – and agreeing that IT sits in judgment upon them – not they upon the Word.
We bow to God’s declarations in His Word, to the miracles and those things that the proud in heart want to dismiss as embarrassing or beneath them.
Such basic humility is absolutely fundamental for the one who would know God savingly in Jesus Christ.
Perhaps that is you today.
To believe God’s Word that He spoke the worlds into existence and created all things by the word of His power seems too mythical or fantastic to sign on to.
And those stories in the Bible about a real Adam and Eve and a talking snake and a tree of the knowledge of God and evil. Those are too much for your sophistication.
A global flood and an Ark preserving only 8 human beings – and the necessary animals to preserve the species – may be metaphors, but not actual events. It is beneath you to believe them.
God appearing to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob…
The Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt by parting the Red Sea…
Millions of people being sustained in the desert by supernatural food every day, and God giving Moses a literal set of tablets with 10 commandments…
The God/Man Jesus being born of a Virgin, walking on water, feeding 1000’s with a few loaves and fishes and raising the dead…
You want me to believe all that AND, that I am a sinner in rebellion against God and I have nothing I can contribute to process because I am too wicked and deserve an everlasting Hell?…
And that this supposed God/Man died on the Cross as a substitutionary atonement for MY sins, and rose up from the dead 3 days later and is coming yet again to punish all the unbelievers and reward His own in OUR resurrection?
All of it sounds a little foolish doesn’t it?
It’s too much to take literally.
And I’m not so much of a Rube as to believe it, and judge myself THAT unworthy and to cast myself upon the death of this Jesus by faith – who may or may not have died and rose again more than 2000 years ago.
And I tell you on the authority of God’s Word that if you think yourself too good, too intelligent, too sophisticated, to believe all that and get linked up with this bunch of yahoos – then you cannot be saved.
One must humble themselves to the revelation of Gods truths as He has given them, and to His authority to which you are responsible but guilty – and concede that there is no other way to be saved!
Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
But for those who already are Christians – all of this begs one more question Peter must address – What does such humility look like?
HOW exactly does one “humble” themselves, so that they may have access to the grace needed to live the way he has been calling us throughout this letter?
And so he goes on to develop the answer to that in a most interesting way.
III. (6-7) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
- HUMBLE YOURSELVES: It is a self-humbling, rather than BEING humbled by and through increasing pressure.
Paul demonstrates it personally in Philippians 3:4–11 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
- UNDER THE MIGHTY HAND OF GOD: It is recognizing God’s sovereign hand in the circumstances.
It is refusing to chafe against His appointments, but to receive them as from the hand of the most wise, most loving, most wonderful Father who has our best interest at heart – more than we can even possibly know.
- SO THAT AT THE PROPER TIME HE MAY EXALT YOU: Trusting in His revealed plan, that He will bring it to pass and that it is glorious.
- CASTING ALL: And it is looking to Him in conscious, conscious, deliberate dependence upon His indwelling Spirit – as opposed to struggling against the circumstances, or just gritting our teeth and trying to bear up.
The idea here isn’t that we do not have, or shouldn’t have or won’t have anxieties.
The questions is – what do we do with them?
Will we take them to Him with the confidence that He cares for our souls, and that we need to be watchful that the Enemy is not allowed to take advantage of them?
It is a humbling thing to let someone else worry about your problems.
But this is the path to having our anxieties all placed where they belong.
The problems arise when we let anxieties rule, and drive us to poor decisions and to act in ways incompatible with Christ’s nature.
Jesus was in agonizing anxiety in the Garden.
But He neither ran,
refused the cup,
called for angelic deliverance,
nor cursed the Father etc.
In His agony He persevered, committing all to the Father.
And this is our ensample.
So it is Peter reminds us that in anxious times we need to remain sober-minded, and watchful for these are times when the enemy can easily catch us off guard.
It is in these times especially we need to resist Satan and to keep in mind we are not alone in our suffering – and that the end will be glorious in Christ.
As I said, it is a humbling thing to let someone else worry about your problems.
But this is the path to having our anxieties all placed where they belong.
Our Father delights to take the weight of them upon Himself.
He loves instead to have us wrapped up in seeing His great care and concern for us, and delighting in His love.
Oh how far short of the privileges He offers, we fall.
“Into your hands I commend my spirit” – Gasps Jesus, even while enduring the wrath of God.
The Father could still be trusted, even when it seemed there was no smile to be had, no grace to soften the blows, and no relief until the very end.
And as our text teaches – He gives all the grace needed, when we humble ourselves under His gracious hand.