Aug. 17 Bible Studies for Life: Victorious Faith
Aug 12, 2014
By W. WILEY RICHARDS

1 PETER 5:6-11

In approaching our assigned texts for this study, we must note the word “therefore” in verse six. It could be interpreted to mean, “on the basis of what was just written.” It points to the important ideas that shed light on the subsequent discussion. Two merit our attention. First, the Bible refers to the time when “the Chief Shepherd” appears (v. 4). He is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:11) and knows them by name (John 10:14). He is the Great Shepherd through the blood of the everlasting covenant (Heb. 13:20). Second, Peter alludes to the crown of glory that does not fade away to be awarded at the Chief Shepherd’s appearing. James 1:12 speaks of the crown of life for those who love Jesus. Three other crowns are to be given out: the incorruptible crown for those practicing self-discipline (1 Cor. 9:25), the crown of rejoicing for the soul-winners (1 Thess. 2:19) and the crown of righteousness for those who love our Lord’s appearing (2 Tim. 4:8).
 
A victorious faith begins with our humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God (vv. 5-7). Peter was not speaking in generalizations, but from specific experiences. He had seen God’s power at work. He no doubt remembered the first miracle in which he commanded a crippled man to be healed in the name of Jesus (Acts 3:6-8). He witnessed the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, who had lied about their love offering (Acts 5:1-10). He saw the signs and wonders wrought by the apostles (Acts 5:12). He, who had thrice denied Jesus, was established as a principal leader among the first believers. When he promised his brethren—dispersed among the nations—that God would exalt the humble in due time, he spoke from experience.
 
Peter also mentions the role of the young elders (v. 5). He had already alluded to the three-fold ministerial office (v. 2), to which we now turn. In Acts 20:17, Paul on his way from Miletus to Ephesus called for a meeting with the elders of the church. When they arrived, he told them to feed (pastor) the flock over which the Lord has made them overseers or bishops (v. 28). In Titus 1:5, elder is interchanged with bishop (1:7). These are different functions of the pastoral office. Peter called himself an elder (1 Pet. 5:1) and admonished the elders to feed (pastor) the flock over which God had made them overseers, or bishop (v. 2). The expression “ruling elder(s)” occurs nowhere in the Bible.
Also, Peter knew they would need supernatural strength in a contending with the devil (vv. 8-9). The devil, more commonly known as Satan, made his first appearance in the Garden of Eden in the form of the serpent (Gen. 3:1, Rev. 12:9). His origin is never explained in the Bible, but he is generally thought to be a fallen angel, based on Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4. Most evangelicals believe the actual rebellion is given in Isaiah 14:12-13, along with Ezekiel 28:11-19. This latter passage begins by being addressed to the king of Tyre, but alleges he was in Eden, the garden of God (Ez. 28:13).
 
Jesus believed Satan exists. He contended victoriously over Satan’s temptations (Lk. 4:1-13). He accused some Jewish agitators of being of their father, the devil (John 8:44). Two of the Gospels say Satan entered into Judas Iscariot at the Last Supper (Lk. 22:9; John 13:27). Also, Peter likens Satan to a roaring lion, “walking about, seeking whom he may devour.” If anyone doubts the reality of Satan, just consider the depravity of Adolph Hitler and his devoted followers.
 
In spite of the presence of objective evil in the world, God’s grace is all-sufficient (vv. 10-11). Our generation has the capacity to have almost instant awareness of atrocities being committed from remote sections of the world. Radical extremists destroy opposition in the name of their deity. The Bible warns us about the reality of suffering in the name of Jesus for “a while.” In Christ, we understand what the ungodly do to us has the effect of establishing us more securely in depending on God’s grace. It perfects, establishes and strengthens—quite the opposite of what is intended by Satan’s followers.

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