The First Letter of Peter: Chapter 5:6-13

Study No.18: (1 Peter 5:6-13)

As New Covenant believers in the Messiah our Lord Jesus we are all in a spiritual wrestling match with the devil and with his cohorts in the unseen spiritual realm in the atmosphere just above the circumference of the earth (Ephesians 6:12). The main source of our problems is Satan. Some problems we do bring on ourselves by our own mistakes, weaknesses, wrong decisions, or through circumstances out of our control, or through others or even through sins we commit. However, Satan is always close at hand, or has certain principalities assigned to us to manipulate those adverse situations or circumstances to derail our trust in God and to move us into the realm of unbelief, anxiety and fear. When we are facing persecution from others around us we always need to keep in mind that those who are persecuting us are being controlled and manipulated by Satan or one of his principalities that our persecutors are not even aware of.

In these closing verses Peter tells us how to deal with Satan when facing persecution, a message greatly needed by the local assemblies Peter was writing to and more so to us today as we see the end of this present age coming to a close, and Satan “upping the ante” on his persecution of the wider the Body of Messiah starting to spread around the globe. Whether itis persecution itself, or tests and trials of many kinds, God is using these trying circumstances  to bring us to the point where we will ultimately experience a spiritual breakthrough and be spiritually fortified for the coming persecution in the west (James 1:2-5) (Galatians 6:9-10).

God wants us to learn how to persevere in trials and tests of all kinds as these are preparing us for the persecution when it comes and in these last days it is descending upon the Body of Messiah globally, not only in the Middle-Eastern assemblies, but also coming to the western democracies that were one associated with Biblical Judeo-Christianity but are now neo-pagan by enlarge. The persecution happening in the first century to the Body of Messiah is happening again and will continue in frequency and intensity to all faithful New Covenant believers in this century.

Hence Peter’s letter is very applicable to the wider Body of Messiah today. Persecution always comes to us when we remain steadfast by faith in and for the Lord Jesus and stand on the Word of God, the Bible, without compromise (Mark 4:17) (2 Timothy 3:12). In this closing part of his letter Peter tells us what we need to do when we are faced with persecution, trials or suffering for our faithfulness to and steadfast trust in our Lord Jesus. Let’s now look at our text…

Exposition: (1 Peter 5:6-13)

(Vs.6) “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

We are to humble ourselves as God expects us to do before Him. This means not pushing ourselves forward or to use our gifts and abilities to promote ourselves in order to draw people’s attention to ourselves. God wants us to humble ourselves as an act of our will to produce obedience and submission to the Lordship of our Lord Jesus, giving Him the glory and the honour due to Him as our Saviour and Lord, knowing that God Himself opposes the proud but gives His unmerited and unearned favour to the humble (5:5b). The word “humble” denotes; “to abase oneself, or to assign oneself to a lower rank or place, to be ranked below others who are honoured or rewarded, to have a modest opinion of one’s self and to behave in an unassuming manner towards another and being devoid of all haughtiness.”

Pride was Satan’s downfall and it lies at the door of every one of us who seek to love and to serve our Lord Jesus. While the sins of the flesh are spiritually deadly, the sin of pride will inevitably lead to the shipwreck of one’s faith and effectiveness for God, and if not dealt with by God’s power, can ultimately lead to Hades. It is a deadly spiritual poison that many true saints of God that He has used in the past has caused their downfall, and because of this pride, God has been forced to lay them aside. Only under the mighty hand of God are we able to humble ourselves. God expects us to humble ourselves because if He humbles us then we will most certainly know it because we have failed to humble ourselves. If we constantly seek to humble ourselves before the Lord, and calling on His might and power to do it, then He will not have to humble us Himself. Only under his hand then can we humble ourselves.

Before God can raise us up to a position where He can really use us effectively we must first humble ourselves before the Lord Jesus and let Him apply the work of the cross to our lives, being the crucifixion of the flesh with its appetites and desires. In due course, and in His time, after He has prepared and trained us to walk in step with the Spirit and to turn aside from succumbing to the desires of the fallen sinful nature, He will release in us His power, His gift and His call to accomplish what He has ordained for us even before we were born. As King David wrote: “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).

As we work daily at humbling ourselves moment by moment, submitting by faith to God’s benevolent and loving divine will, and allowing the Holy Spirit to continue His sanctifying work in us, in due course God will raise us up into the fullness of His calling, fully releasing His gifting in and through us and use us mightily in His service for the Kingdom of God. As Rabbi the apostle Paul writes; “for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). As it is also written; “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labour in vain; unless the LORD protects the city, its watchmen stand guard in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

God is never in a hurry when preparing us for His service. Sometimes it will take years of preparation including many trials, tests, failures, mistakes and circumstances to be endured, but as we learn to walk in step with His Spirit, with a willingness to be obedient to His will and walking by faith then in due course He will lift us up and promote us to enter into all the fullness of His blessing and power and accomplish mighty things for Him in the power of the Holy Spirit. If we constantly call on Him to do His will then He will show us great and unsearchable things that we cannot comprehend with our human thinking. As God said through Jeremiah the prophet; “Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it, the Lord is His name: Call to Me, and I will answer and show you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:2-3).

(Vs.7) “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Notice the word “all” in our text. The word “all” denotes in the Greek text; “each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything.” It includes every care, every anxious thought and every anxiety, it also includes depression, doubt and fear and casting everything on Him is implied with no exceptions. We don’t just tell God our worries; we cast, or throw, them onto Him! This “casting” is a continuous action we need to be doing daily as we learn to dispel the spirit of fear by replacing it with a spirit of faith. To get this kind of faith we need to know what God has promised us in His Word and keep it before our eyes and use it when in prayer. As it is written; “Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). We can pray the Word of God!

We are not to just hear God’s Word only with our physical ears but to hear it with the ears of our heart. Once it gets deep down on the inside of us and becomes a supernatural revelation by the Holy Spirit, it will change us and produce in us that faith which will dispel fear and anxiety and the spirit of unbelief. It will produce in us that confidence that what God has promised He will deliver in His time and in His way. As a result we will become increasingly doers of the Word and not hearers only. God’s Word will produce in us that faith that pleases God and which he rewards (Hebrews 11:6).

As we familiarise ourselves with the promises of God the blessed Holy Spirit will create in us supernaturally the capacity to grow in our trust and confidence in God and in His promises and to cast, and to keep on casting, all of our anxieties on Him. This spiritual exercise of faith will enable that faith in us to develop to the point where the things that caused us anxiety in the past will actually start to diminish in their hold over us and we will grow in our trust in the providence of God and in His sovereign purposes ordained for us from all eternity even before the very foundation of the world.

God Himself cares for us and will also console us in our times of anxiety. As the psalmist writes; “Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy” (Psalm 94:17-19). The Holy Spirit, who is the comforter, consoles us through the Word of God. As Rabbi the apostle Paul also writes; “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will garrison your hearts and your minds in Messiah Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). And then we read why we need to let God deal with our anxiety…

(Vs.8) “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

We are to be self-controlled and alert” Denotes; “to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit and to be temperate, dispassionate and circumspect, to give strict attention to, and to be cautious, active and to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one.” We are also told that this alertness needs to be exercised in relation to the strategies and devices Satan uses to derail our faith. We need to be constantly aware of Satan’s devices and as we walk in step with the Holy Spirit He will speak to us and reveal to us when Satan is seeking to spiritually waylay us. God will forewarn us and to be forewarned is to be forearmed!

Fear, anxiety, depression, unbelief, doubt, confusion of mind, emotional turmoil and an overindulgence of the appetites of our fleshly fallen nature will give Satan an element of control over us. He in effect has an inroad to harass and to disturb our peace. We cannot be possessed by an evil spirit because we have the Holy Spirit in us if we have been spiritually reborn from above, because greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (Satan). However we can be oppressed by an evil spirit hell bent on derailing our faith and hindering us in what God has called us to do. God may allow this to keep us humble and totally dependent on His power and strength (1 Corinthians 12:7). Also it needs to be said that if we are careless in the things we entertain especially these days via the internet we can open ourselves up to being oppressed by an evil spirit which will not be easy to expel.

If by relying on the Spirit’s power we practice self-control, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in us, then we will have control over our thoughts, our feelings, over our actions and especially over our will. If we walk in step with the Holy Spirit in this way then Satan will have a hard time overcoming us. If we resist him and keep resisting then he will flee from us and after resisting him we need to draw near to God to be spiritually replenished. As the apostle James writes; “But He (God) gives us more grace. This is why it says: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:6-8). It is only when we decide to keep resisting Satan is when he will flee and that in abject terror!

Not only then are we to practice moment by moment crucifying the flesh with its ungodly passions and desires as we walk by faith and obedience and in step with the Holy Spirit, we are to stay alert concerning Satan’s devices and machinations (Ephesians 4:22-27). Being spiritually alert involves unceasing prayer in the Holy Spirit, by regularly feeding our spirits on the nutritious grain of God’s Word, and by desiring to be obedient to the Word of God and to be continuously filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit moment by moment (Ephesians 5:18).There are five powerful spiritual weapons then in God’s spiritual arsenal He has given us. These are the name of Jesus, the power of Jesus blood, the power of the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of unceasing prayer in the Holy Spirit. When we are utilising these five spiritual weapons by faith, Satan sees us coming down the road at him and will take a wide berth around us!

Also we need to put on the whole spiritual armour of God every day without fail while praying continuously in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-18). In this way we will build ourselves up in our most holy faith, keep ourselves in the flow of God’s love as we wait in anticipation of the Messiah’s mercy to be extended towards us at His second coming to bring us into the full reality of the eternal life we have already in us, and that will carry us into eternity itself to be with the Lord forever! (Jude 1:21).  Now notice what the devil does.

“He prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” His roar may frighten the timid believer or the young convert that has not yet become a seasoned warrior or even frighten to a degree a seasoned veteran in spiritual matters, however, he is likened to a lion that has had its teeth pulled out by the roots! Yes he will devour those who yield to him. This is why as a believer we must not walk into the lion’s den when temptation comes. You cannot grab the tail of a lion and not expect to be devoured.  Satan is not concerned about the unsaved or the apostates within wider Christendom as they already belong to him and he devours them every day. The ones that concern him is you and I who have been rescued from his clutches by the blood of the Messiah! (Revelation 12:11).

However, for the New Covenant believer sheltering by faith under the atoning and cleansing blood of the Messiah, Satan will be to them as a toothless lion because his teeth were pulled out at the cross. He may loudly roar but he cannot devour us if we keep walking by faith and under the power of the Holy Spirit. So then how else are we to resist Satan?

(Vs.9) “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

In the spiritual armour of God given to us there are two prominent pieces of that armour. There is the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit. The shield is used for defence and the sword to attack. With the shield of faith we deflect the devil’s fiery darts and with the sword of the Spirit, being God’s Word, we engage him in battle. When you are enlisted in the army there is no guarantee that you will not be injured or killed. They will train you to fight and give you the weapons to fight with, but you are the one who will have to do the fighting. The Lord Jesus never promised us an easy-ride to glory but that in spiritual combat against the world, the flesh and the devil we would be treated by the world as He was treated. Our Lord Jesus never promised us that we would not suffer martyrdom and Peter understood this when writing his letters (John 15: 18-21; 16:2-3) (2 Peter 1:14).

The Messiah our Lord Jesus is our Commander in Chief and we are engaged in one campaign after another while we are living in this world. Rabbi the apostle Paul writes to Timothy who was in active service for the Lord Jesus as a pastor within the Body of Messiah. Paul’s advice to him applies to us all. Paul writes; “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Messiah Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3-4). When a roman soldier was on a campaign in enemy territory he was always dressed in his armour in case of a sudden attack and their weapon and shield were beside them. The moment the commanding officer called them to action they were already prepared to engage the enemy. This is why we need to be dressed every day with the full armour of God. Spiritual warfare can be likened to hand to hand blood and guts combat ankle deep in a muddy trench and fighting over barbed wire. Satan is a dirty fighter with no holds barred and we have to engage him with a ruthlessness to match his own.

As New covenant believers we are destined for tribulation in this world but we overcome because our Lord Jesus overcame and His overcoming power is residing within us in the person of the Holy Spirit if we have been spiritually reborn from above. As He Himself said; “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.] (John 16:33 AMP).

When Satan assaults us, which he does and will do more so as we see the end of this present age coming to a close, because he knows now that his time is short and he is unleashing his rage against Israel and the offspring of the woman being the Body of Messiah spiritually grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel (Revelation 12:13-17). We need to become proficient in using the Word of God just like a mechanic uses a wrench, so that when we are faced with satanic oppression or temptation and whatever else he throws our way, we can use the Word of God accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit, to drive him out of our affairs. As it is written; “When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a battle standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19). There will be times when Satan’s power will be so intense and oppressive and unrelenting that only prayer and fasting will break his stronghold and bring about the much needed spiritual breakthrough (Daniel 10: 12-14) (Matthew 17:21).

Times of darkness, depression, despair and seemingly spiritual defeat can be turned around, not only by fasting and prayer, but also through praise (Psalm 8:2) (Psalm 9:1-3). Some of us need to change the way we pray. Instead of constantly reminding God of our situation, which He knows all about anyway, and better than we know, we should start give Him  thanks for the answer and provision He has already in store for us according to His foreknowledge of all things. A heart of praise and thanksgiving will get His attention every time and drive out anxiety and unbelief and replace it with an expectancy that the answer is already on the way. His timing is not always our timing and we need to persevere but at the end He will always come through for us. He is never too early but also never too late!

Persecution and trials of our faith do not come directly from God but from Satan, and yet God permits them. Take the case of godly Job. Satan afflicted him and God permitted it. However, after Job had passed through his terrible nightmare and came out of it with flying colours in the end and God blessed him more than he had ever been blessed in the past (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-8, 10-11; 13:15; 16:19; 23:10). Those of us, who suffer persecution down here and even face death, will, after we have left our bodies to be present with the Lord, at our bodily resurrection receive the victor’s crown. Rabbi the apostle Paul understood this when he wrote; “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

God then permits tests, trials, oppression and difficult circumstances to teach us how to persevere and prepare ourselves for persecution when it comes, and it is coming to the western Body of Messiah at the hands of the Antichrist’s beast empire. It will only be the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus that will put an end to the persecution (Daniel 7:21-27). In a time of persecution God will do one of two things. He will deliver us from it, or deliver us in it and through it (Psalm 50:14-15) (Psalm 86:6-7). Which ever happens in the end we win! (Revelation 7:14-17).

We are never alone in our trials, tests, adversities, oppression and persecution because we choose to remain faithful to our Lord Jesus, because the same sufferings are being experienced by our brothers and sisters in Messiah in the entire world. God permits us then to be tested, and the apostle James speaks to us about this in his letter. He writes; “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance and let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). This joy is supernatural in a time of adversity, hardship, and especially in a time of persecution when it comes to the fore. It is our strength! As we read in Nehemiah; “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). It is a supernatural spiritual fruit of the indwelling Spirit of God and not something we generate ourselves.

Humanly speaking, there is no joy or comfort in persecution, pain and suffering, however, when the Holy Spirit is present even a prison will become a heaven on earth. While many of us have never experienced this kind of suffering in the western democracies, the time is coming when we will have to face the same kind of suffering being experienced by our brothers and sisters around the world in Islamic and communist countries, and by corrupt, wicked and ungodly western politicians imposing their godless laws on those who want to stay true to the Lord Jesus and to the authority of His Word, the Bible.

In these days the “happy, clappy, hyper faith prosperity, have it good in this world, purpose driven Churches will see in their own ranks the great falling away in the entire history of the Church since the apostasy was kick started by Constantine who paganised Christendom, but this is a subject in itself. When we do suffer for our stand for the Lord Jesus and for the absolute authority of His Word the Bible, we are in very good company because they persecuted the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord and the Lord Jesus Himself including His apostles, all of whom were martyred except John. In the physical realm in any war the snipers always try to knock off the Generals and officers knowing that without a chain of command the army is without direction. Satan tries to do this in the unseen spiritual realm.

However, even though the prophets, the apostles and the Lord Jesus Himself are all in heaven and the martyrs so numerous they cannot be numbered, the Word of God remains the same, and even in the time of the most severe persecution Satan cannot chain it! (2 Timothy 2:9). God Himself has said concerning His Word; “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:9-11).

Tests and trials will come to spiritually purify us and to prepare us for the time of persecution should we experience it when it comes and we will need to know that God is really with us in it. There will be times when we fail a test or trial God has permitted and He will allow us to go through it again, not to discourage us, but because He wants us to pass the test, because He knows through it we will grow in our faith and in spiritual maturity so that we ourselves can comfort others with the same comfort we ourselves have received from God in that test or trial. As Rabbi the apostle Paul writes; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Messiah, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). And then we read…

(Vs.10-11) “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Messiah, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

 God is the God of all grace, His grace being His favour upon us who have not deserved it or merited it in any way because of our sins. It is God’s grace that brings us to the Lord Jesus to be saved through repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus to save us (Ephesians 2:8-10) (Acts 20:21). He is not only the God of grace but of all grace, abundant grace, persevering grace, unchanging grace, a lavish grace and a grace that goes far beyond anything that can be understood with the human intellect, a grace that saves sinners such as we are by birth and by nature. In the time of persecution God will be lavish with His grace towards His children and then some! He is not stingy with His grace but is filled with all grace that can sustain us in whatever situation we may find ourselves when things are tough, when we are wrestling with anxiety, depression, physical infirmities of different kinds, or times of sever and prolonged temptation, or when we are having difficulties in our marriage or with our children or siblings and other family members, or financial struggles. Whatever we face in life as His children the more pressure we have the more grace He bestows upon us.  We have a high calling; we are a royal priesthood (2:9).

Times or adversity or persecution from Satan  and from those who serve him cause us to look heavenwards  to see His heavenly glory that awaits us when we finish our lives down here, an eternal glory that is ours in the Messiah our Lord Jesus. As Rabbi the apostle Paul writes; “For our light and momentary affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory that is far beyond comparison. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

If anyone experienced oppression, opposition, attacks by heretics and religious leaders and persecution, it was Paul who was whipped, shipwrecked, imprisoned, beaten, stoned, derided, resisted and carried in himself the anxiety for the spiritual wellbeing of all the assemblies he had planted, he considered them all as light and momentary afflictions recognising that these afflictions were preparing him to share in the eternal weight of God’s glory to come. God uses persecution to purify us, but also to make us long for the eternal life to come after this life down here comes to an end. Dealing with our fleshly fallen natures every day is a weight in itself that we have to carry while living in this physical body yet God will give us the victory through our faith in the power of the Lord Jesus (Romans 7:14-25).

As Charles Spurgeon used to say that it was like being chained to a corpse. Our Lord Jesus does not want us to be attached to the things this world offers because they are transient and do not last. Rabbi the apostle Paul also writes; “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:1-4).

Now Satan cannot keep up the pressure when we resist him in that time of affliction or oppression he is pressing hard against us. The more we resist him by the power of Jesus blood and by the power of the Spirit of God and by confessing the Word of God accompanied by praying in the Holy Spirit, the stronger we become in our resistance. God want us to have all grace and to approach His throne of that lavish grace with boldness and freedom of speech so that we might receive His mercy and find His grace more than sufficient to help and to support us in our time of need (Hebrews 4: 16).

God permits us to suffer (4:19). However, He will restore us and give us relief when He sees that things are beyond our ability to endure. As we read; “No temptation (test) has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide an escape, so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Sometimes God will deliver us out of persecution but at times sustain us in and through the persecution, yet whatever happens He has promised never to leave us or forsake us even to the very end of this present age, a promise He made to His disciples but that is also extended to us (Matthew 28:20) (Hebrews 13:5).

It also important to know, that there are brief times when God gives the wider Body of Messiah a rest from persecution primarily in order for the gospel of the kingdom to have free course in being proclaimed as we see recorded in the book of Acts after Paul’s conversion. We read; “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers” (Acts 9:31). According to Peter he tells us that after the suffering when relief does comes, and it does, that as a result the Lord Jesus will accomplish three things in us.

Firstly; “He will Himself restore us” The phrase denotes; “to render, i.e. to make sound, complete and to mend what has been broken or rent, to repair and to equip, put in order, to arrange and to adjust to fit out, equip, put in order, arrange, to adjust and to strengthen, to make perfect and to make one what they ought to be.” The God of all grace always strengthens and delivers His people after they have been subject to persecution and as a result they grow in His grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus being identified with Him in His suffering and death, but also having the living hope of sharing in His resurrection (Philippians 3:10-11). In a time of persecution the blessed Holy Spirit will change our perception in recognising what is really important in life. Even though we are living in the world we are not of this world, but aliens and strangers in the world, because of our loyalty to the Lord Jesus and to his Word, the Bible. God is always in the business of restoring us spiritually and sometimes He allows adversity to accomplish this for His glory and to facilitate our joy in the Holy Spirit.

Secondly; “He will make us strong;” to be resilient, steadfast, immovable, committed and able to handle all that Satan sends our way because God will use what Satan does, not to weaken us spiritually, but to empower us to run him out of our affairs, and that by testifying verbally to what God’s Word says that the blood of Jesus does for us and enabling us supernaturally not to love our lives in this world but if necessary to be willing to lay them down. This will be the mark of the faithful Body of Messiah in the time of great tribulation or the hour of trial soon to come upon the whole world (Revelation 7:13-17) (Revelation 12:11).

God will keep us in and through it! (Revelation 2:10). It is interesting to note, that the phrase “to keep you from” this hour of trial the Lord Jesus writes to the assembly at Philadelphia, it is a word that in the Greek text can also mean to “keep one through it or in it,” not to take one out of it. It is the same word used in the prayer that the Lord Jesus prayed for His disciples that His Father would “not take them out of the world but keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). God knows how to rescue the godly from trial and will most certainly keep those who are persecuted for His sake. As Peter writes in his second letter; “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the Day of Judgment” (2 Peter 2:9b).

Thirdly; “He will make us firm and steadfast;” denotes to lay a firm foundation, to make stable, and to establish one on a firm foundation being the Lord Jesus Himself, the rock of our salvation and His Word upon which to build our lives in this world in order to stand when the adverse storms of life or persecution assail us, and when all hell breaks loose against us, because we stand for the truth and do not sell it to save ourselves (1 Corinthians 3:11) (Matthew 7:24-27; 16:18). God’s Word is the Word of truth (John 17:17) and we are told in the book of Proverbs to “Invest in truth and never sell it” (Proverbs 23:23). Finally Peter closes his letter…

(Vs.12-14) “With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Messiah.”

He has written to them, even if briefly, as much more could be written, to encourage them to keep on testifying to the true grace of God and that He is the God of all grace and to stand fast in that grace. He uses the term “she” to refer to the Body of Messiah, being His faithful bride who is in “Babylon” referring of course to the Roman Empire which reflected the culture, the lifestyles, the witchcraft, the sensuality, the opulence and the wicked idolatrous and  immoral society of Ancient Babylon. Today we see the whole world manifesting the character of Nimrod’s Babylon, who was himself the first major type of the Antichrist in the Bible. In Peter’s time the many antichrists were the pagan Roman emperors who claimed to be divine. The apostle John also saw the many antichrists as those who were at one time part of the Body of Messiah but who became apostates by rejecting the teaching of the apostles concerning the true nature of the Lord Jesus, being fully God and fully man in the same person (1 John 2:18-19; 4:1-3).

Knowing that the time of his martyrdom was soon to come Peter ends the last paragraph of his letter by encouraging his flock to greet each other with the kiss of love, a custom in those times denoting a strong bond of love, friendship, a real sense of camaraderie, and an unconditional commitment to one another as the Body of Messiah, something that is sadly lacking in many assemblies today. Persecution is the last resort that God allows to spiritually unify His people to live a life worthy of the calling they have received from God and to be completely humble and gentle; to be patient, bearing with one another in love, and to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1b-3). Peter’s first letter can well be referred to as; “God’s survival manual for the time of persecution.”