Thursday, January 28, 2010

1 Peter 5: Fix Your #Hope On #Christ (How To Deal With #Suffering)

6) By making yourself low (5:1-7)

Verse 6, with its "humble yourselves therefore", seems to summarize 1-5. The word "humble" ("tapeino") means "to abase", or "make low". It comes from a word meaning "not rising far above the ground", "lowly", or "of low degree".  This passage seems to explain why and how you should humble yourself. 

A) Reasons:

Because God opposes the proud (5)

In Acts 5, God struck Ananias and Sapphira dead for secretly holding back money other believers needed, then lying to God about it. In 1 Corinthians 11, some made gluttons of themselves, while other believers went hungry at the Lord's supper. For this attitude, verse 30 says many among them were weak, sick, and dead. James 5 and 1 John 5 refer to sin that results in physical death. Hebrews 6 and 12 warn that God discipline's His children. Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 say God established secular authorities to avenge His wrath on those who do evil. You should humble yourself, because God opposes the proud. 

Because God exalts the humble (6)

The example of Christ illustrates how God exalts the humble.  Christ showed humility by yielding His rights as God, taking the form of a servant, and obeying God to the point of death (Phil. 2:6ff.). For this reason, God highly exalted Him, gave Him a name above all names, and will cause every knee to bow to Him. 

The exaltation which 1 Peter says awaits you, is the grace of glory Christ will bring you at His appearing (cf. chapter 1). Romans 8 and 1 Cor. 15 explain God will give you a new, glorious body which is incorruptible, free from the sin nature, eternal, and like Christ's. Rev. 21 - 22 promises you a glorious city in a new heavens and earth.  John 14 promises you a mansion in that city. You may never be exalted here on earth, but Christ will bring you glory at His appearing. You should humble yourself, because God exalts the humble. 

Because God cares for you (7)

"Humble yourselves...under...God...casting all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you (NAS). The word "care" comes from a word which means "a part", meaning to divide into pieces. When you are anxious, your mind is divided into pieces, or distracted. 

Matthew 6:25-34 explains that God knows what you have need of, that He provides for the birds, arrays the flowers and grass with glory, and that He takes even more care for you. Pride can make you think it is your job to run the universe, and this will divide your mind in worry. When you cast your cares on God, you admit He controls things, and will take care of you. You should humble yourself, because God cares for you. 

B) Ways

By setting an example (1-4)

If you're a pastor, it is your job to "shepherd". This would mean you both feed and oversee the flock. Since the pastor of a local church is under the authority of the "Chief Shepherd", he should serve of his own free will, and not out of greed for money, or as lord of the flock.  

Humbling yourself under the Chief Shepherd means you lead by example of your conduct, rather than as a lord. "Example" means "a figure formed by an impression or blow", thus "to print". It also refers to a "pattern" or "form" used to make things after their likeness. The word "lord", here, was used in Matthew 25, when some of the disciples fought over who would be the greatest. It also appears in Acts 19:16, to describe how a demon possessed man leaped upon, overcame, and prevailed against the seven sons of Sceva. 

Humility does not limit pastors to leading only by doing good works, though. Acts 6 shows deacons serve to relieve pastors from waiting on tables, so they may devote themselves to the word of God and prayer. 2 Timothy 4 seems to say pastors should reprove, rebuke, and exhort believers from the word of God. Titus 1 seems to instruct pastors to silence (lit. "gag") false teachers. It's just that if you're a pastor, you should model the way you lead people, rather than trying to overpower them by virtue of your office. 

By submitting to elders (5a)

"You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders..." (NAS). 

The word "subject' comes from two roots, "under", and "to rank", or "arrange" yourself. Hebrews 13:7 says "Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith." (NAS). 13:17 says, "Obey [lit. be persuaded by] your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you." (NAS). 

Acts 17 says the Bereans were "more noble", because they searched the Scriptures daily, to see whether the things they were being taught were so. In Acts 5, Peter said we ought to obey God rather than men. You do not have to blindly obey everything a pastor tells you to do, but insofar as they model and teach God's word, you should imitate their faith and submit to their instruction. 

By respecting the brethren (5b)

"...all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another" (NAS). 

The word "clothe" ("enkombosasthe"), seems to come from "enkomboma", which was the white apron, or towel worn by slaves. Christ girded himself with a towel, and set an example for the disciples to follow, by serving them (John 13:4, 14-15). You should humble yourself by respecting the brethren. 

By casting your care on God (7)

Mary and Martha illustrate anxiety. Worry over preparing a meal divided Martha's mind into pieces. Marry, by contrast, sat at the feet of Christ, choosing the one thing she needed most (Lk. 10:38-42). 

Nebuchadnezzar thought he controlled things, and had gotten himself all the glory he observed in the kingdom. As a result, God took away his understanding, so that he became like a beast, but later restored him to a right mind with the knowledge that He alone is sovereign (Dan 4). 

Romans 8 says God works all things together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Every believer God saves will be brought safely to glory, and nothing is able to separate you from this love of God. Job said, "though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15a). Even though you suffer, God still cares for you. He takes care of all things, and provides for all creation (Mt. 6:25-34). Pride will make you think this is your job, and divide your mind into pieces. When you admit God controls all things, and cares for you, you may unload your worries on Him.

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