Today we celebrate the compassion and intimacy God as our heavenly Father, the Lord Jesus Christ as our great and glorious Savior and the Holy Spirit, as our Comforter, Teacher and Guide. As we worship the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as the God of compassion and intimacy, the following verses from 1 Peter 5 come to mind:
“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. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 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 5.6-11)
Contained within every command of God is a promise of future grace. Focus your attention on verse 10: “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.” Note what Peter says God Himself will do “after you have suffered a little while.” He Himself will “restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
God is our everlasting Father. In truth He is the everlasting Father under whose mighty hand we must humble ourselves. Placed prominently within this text is His promise that if we obey the command to humble ourselves, He Himself will exalt us. His promise is that as we obey His command He will, by means of His future grace, “restore, confirm, strengthen and establish” you and me. Every command of God is a promise in disguise. The command to humble ourselves carries in it God’s promise of future grace. His well-timed help will come to exalt us at the proper time in order to “restore, confirm, strengthen and establish” us.
Now here’s the hard part. We must humble ourselves by casting all our anxieties upon Him in the context of suffering for Jesus’ sake and the gospel. This means we must humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God in the presence of our enemies! We must cast our all anxieties upon Him even as we seek the good of those responsible for inflicting upon us all manner of persecution (see Psalm 23.5). The supreme example of how and why this is both necessary and possible is the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2.21-24; see also the gospel accounts of Jesus before His accusers). It is not retaliation but humility that honors God and achieves His righteousness. It is not anger leading to vengeance, nor is it the demand for our rights that follows Christ’s example.
On the contrary, it is the wholehearted, self-denying, full-souled trust/obedience in the future grace of the God who owns everything and to whom has been entrusted all authority in heaven and on earth. It is trust in the One who has promised to put all things to right and has demonstrated that He has begun to do so by means of the cross upon which humanity crucified Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.
Humility of this sort requires further mediation and prayer for the Holy Spirit’s continued instruction. Humility of this sort is possible only by means of trust/obedience in God’s future-grace to provide, sustain and inspire faith, hope and love. The command is difficult but not impossible to keep.
And within it is God’s promise to exalt us and when He has, the promise will also come true that “. . . .after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace. . . .will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
You think about that.