Stand Firm in God’s Grace.


Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it! She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark. Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ. – 1 Peter 5:12-14 ESV

At this point in his letter, Peter begins his closing. It would appear that he has had help in putting his thoughts in writing from Sylvanus, which is probably a reference to Silas. Sylvanus is the Roman form of the Greek name, Silas. So as Paul had done in many of his other letters, he dictated his thoughts to Silas and he wrote them all out. But it seems that Paul took up quill in hand and wrote these final sentences on his own. He states, “I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God” (1 Peter 5:12 ESV). HIs personal, handwritten conclusion to the letter was to act as his seal of approval, affirming its content. And the “true grace of God” to which he refers encompasses all that he has said in the last five chapters.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 1:3-7 ESV

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. – 1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. – 1 Peter 2:24-25 ESV

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. – 1 Peter 3:8-9 ESV

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit…who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. – 1 Peter 3:18, 22 ESV

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. – 1 Peter 4:1-2 ESV

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. – 1 Peter 4:12-13 ESV

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. – 1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV

Peter has exhorted and declared that all of what he has written in this letter is the true grace of God. And he tells them one last time, “Stand firm in it!” The grace, mercy, love, power, faithfulness and sovereignty of God are to be the foundation on which we stand. It is God’s unfailing plan of redemption, as made possible through His Son’s death and resurrection, that forms the solid ground on which we are to find the firm footing for our faith. We will suffer for the sake of righteousness in this life. We will discover that living for Christ in a fallen world is difficult and requires confidence in the presence and promises of God. Our motivation and inspiration must come from our belief in the grace and mercy of God. We must believe as Paul did. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 ESV). We must listen to the words of Paul when he wrote, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:13 ESV).

It is by or according to God’s grace that we were saved. His grace is the means by which we are being sanctified. His grace, His undeserved, unmerited favor towards us, keeps us safely and permanently as His children. All that we are and all that we have is according to the grace of God. And it is on that grace we are to stand. He is not yet done extending His grace to us. There are more blessings to come, more promises to be fulfilled. We must constantly remember the words of Peter as he closed out this letter.

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. – 1 Peter 5:10-11 ESV

When reading this final paragraph from Peter’s letter, I can’t help but recall the words from the old hymn, My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less.

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

 

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