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Bible Study 1 Peter 5 Our Humility and Satan's Defeat

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 Humility and Watchfulness in Suffering (5:5-9)

5 "Young men" most likely refers to young men in general. The women are not mentioned because their activity in the churches was limited in Peter's time. "In the same way" indicates a new unit of instruction (cf. 3:1, 7). The exhortation to submission is not limited to a few, but all Christians are to manifest this quality.

    "Clothe yourselves" (GK G1599) is a rare word that refers to a slave putting on an apron before serving. So Christians are to imitate their Lord, who girded himself and served (Jn 13:4-17). The reason for humility is based on Pr 3:34 (cf. Jas 4:6) that states God's provision of grace to the submissive and God's continuing opposition to the proud.

James 4:6:  “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

 

6 Christians should, therefore, "humble" themselves under God's "mighty hand."

---In the OT, God's hand symbolized discipline (Ex 3:19; 6:1; Job 30:21; Ps 32:4) and deliverance (Dt 9:26; Eze 20:34).

Both meanings are appropriate in view of the sufferings of the Asian Christians. Once more Peter ties his exhortation to humility to the end times. The "due time" is the time God has set for Christ's appearing. Thus the whole destiny of Christians--whether it is suffering or glory--is God-ordained.

7 Peter then exhorts believers to "cast all your anxiety" on the Lord.

 He does not say what the anxiety is; perhaps he had persecution in mind. The application of his exhortation embraces all the difficulties believers who want to live godly in a fallen world must face.

The "casting" entails an act of the will and should be done prayerfully and in obedience to Jesus' teaching about anxiety (Mt 6:25-34).

 "He cares for you" means that God is not indifferent to our sufferings. This conception of God's concern for human affliction is one of the peculiar treasures of the Judeo-Christian faith; though Greek philosophy at its highest could formulate a doctrine of God's perfect goodness, it could not even imagine his active concern for humankind.

**The Incarnation reveals a caring God, and Christ's teaching about his heavenly Father stresses his intimate concern for his children (Mt 10:29-31).

8-9 Belief in the sovereignty of God and in his fatherly concern for us (vv. 6-7) does not permit us to sit back and do nothing.

 We are to "work out [our] salvation" because "it is God who works in [us]" (Php 2:12-13).

So here Peter warns his flock of the danger of making the fact of God's sovereign care an excuse for inactivity.

"Be sober, be watchful" perhaps reflects Peter's own experience in which Satan had "sifted" him (Lk 22:31) and he had failed to "watch" (Mt 26:38; Mk 14:34).

 God's sovereignty does not preclude peril to the Christian life.

    Peter calls Satan "your enemy the devil" and likens him to a lion in search of prey. The word "enemy" (GK G508) meant an opponent in a lawsuit (cf. Job 1:6ff.; Zec 3:1; Rev 12:10). "Devil" (GK G1333) is the Greek translation of the Hebrew "Satan" (1Ch 21:1; Job 2:1; GK H8477), which means "slanderer."

 According to Scripture, he has great power on earth, "being the prince of this world" (Jn 14:30) and "the ruler of the kingdom of the air" (Eph 2:2).

But God has limited his activity.

Through his captive subjects (Eph 2:2; 2Ti 2:25-26), the devil attempted to destroy the infant church by persecution.

    The Christian response to satanic opposition is not panic or flight but firm resistance in faith (v. 9).

"Resist" (GK G468) is the same word as that found in Eph 6:11-13 and Jas 4:7 in contexts of struggle against hostile spiritual forces.

This implies a common "resist-the-devil" formula in the early church.

["In the faith" is not so much "the Christian faith" or "your faithfulness" but rather "your positive faith and trust in God."]

v.9    Support in the struggle also comes from realizing that the sufferings of the Asian Christians were not unique (cf. 1Co 10:13). The same kinds of sufferings are afflicting "your brothers," whereby Peter stresses the solidarity of the Christian body. All who are in union with Christ may expect suffering (Jn 15:18-20; 16:33), and the whole body is joined together in suffering (1Co 12:26).

 The "world” is that orderly system under Satan that is opposed to God and his Messiah (cf. Ps 2).

Spiritual Warfare and Sin: Eternal Enmity

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is

to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but

rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that

when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 

--1 Peter 4:12-13

There are two spirits in the earth, the Spirit of God and the spirit

of Satan, and these are at eternal enmity.

Hershal Hobbs:   Southern Baptist Theologian---Baptist Faith and Message

The ostensible cause of religious hatred may be almost anything; the true cause is nearly

always the same: the ancient animosity which Satan, since the time

of his inglorious fall, has ever felt toward God and His kingdom.

Satan is aflame with desire for unlimited dominion over the human

family; and whenever that evil ambition is challenged by the Spirit

of God, he invariably retaliates with savage fury....

 

It is possible within the provisions of redemptive grace to enter

into a state of union with Christ so perfect that the world will

instinctively react toward us exactly as it did toward Him in the

days of His flesh....

It is the Spirit of Christ in us that will draw Satan's fire.

The people of the world will not much care what we believe and they

will stare vacantly at our religious forms, but there is one thing

they will never forgive us-the presence of God's Spirit in our

hearts. They may not know the cause of that strange feeling of

antagonism which rises within them, but it will be nonetheless

real and dangerous. Satan will never cease to make war on the

Man-child, and the soul in which dwells the Spirit of Christ will

continue to be the target for his attacks.

Read Colossians  2:15

·         Christians are not called to defeat Satan.

·         God has already done that in Christ!

·         Nor is it our mandate to "bind" Satan.

·         Jesus has already set limits on the extent and duration of Satan's freedom.

·         Satan, "our ancient foe," was decisively and completely defeated by Christ's sacrifice on the cross and in His resurrection

·         With regard to Satan, our assignment is to trust in the victory that Christ already achieved and daily resist him with the truth of his defeat, as Jesus did.

Henry Blackaby:

Satan is the father of lies and a master deceiver (John 8:44). If he can convince you that God has not defeated him, then you will not experience Jesus' victory. You will find yourself fighting battles that Christ has already won! You will fear Satan though he has already been utterly and humiliatingly defeated. Your responsibility is to resist Satan, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). When you resist him, you are acknowledging that Jesus has defeated him and given you victory over his influence. God has provided you with spiritual armor that is more than sufficient to withstand any assault by Satan (Eph. 6:10-20

Christians can become preoccupied with battling Satan. This deceives them to invest their time and energy attempting to do something that Christ has already done for them. If Satan can divert you to wage a warfare that has already ended in surrender, he will have eliminated your effectiveness where God wants you. Fearing Satan is fearing a prisoner of war. You have no need or calling to defeat Satan; you need only to apply Christ's victory in every area of your life and to live the victorious Christian life. As you go about sharing the gospel message with others, Satan and his forces face the reality of their defeat in each life that is claimed by the kingdom of God (Luke 10:17-20)

Spiritual Warfare and Sin: Irreconcilable Hostility

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against

principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the

darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the

heavenly places. 

--Ephesians 6:12

In the early days, when Christianity exercised a dominant

influence over American thinking, men and women conceived the

world to be a battleground. Our fathers believed in sin and the

devil and hell as constituting one force, and they believed in

God and righteousness and heaven as the other. By their very

nature, these forces were opposed to each other forever in deep,

grave, irreconcilable hostility. Humans, our fathers held, had to

choose sides-they could not be neutral. For them it must be life

or death, heaven or hell, and if they chose to come out on God's

side they could expect open war with God's enemies. The fight

would be real and deadly and would last as long as life continued

here below. People looked forward to heaven as a return from the

wars, a laying down of the sword to enjoy in peace the home

prepared for them....

How different today. The fact remains the same, but the

interpretation has changed completely. People think of the world,

not as a battleground, but as a playground. We are not here to

fight; we are here to frolic. We are not in a foreign land; we

are at home. We are not getting ready to live, but we are already

living, and the best we can do is rid ourselves of our

inhibitions and our frustrations and live this life to the full. 

This World: Playground or Battleground?, 4-5.

"Lord, we've lost too much by becoming friendly with the enemy.

Help me to be willing to take a stand for righteousness, to

choose clearly to be on Your side against the enemy, to pay any

price--and then to look forward to laying down my sword later in

heaven. Amen."

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