Friday, 27 December 2019
Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 1 Peter 5:9
Peter continues with his words concerning the devil from the previous verse. Here he says, “Resist him.” The word is different than that translated as “resist” in verse 5:5. It more appropriately means “withstand,” and thus to stand one’s ground. One might think of it as standing face to face with the devil and saying, “Not an inch…!” But the verb here is second person plural. He is not speaking to individuals, but to the whole. And so, to bolster this, he says, “steadfast in the faith.”
The word is stereos, and it is the last of four uses in the Bible. It signifies standing fast without buckling. As he is addressing a whole, one could think of the three hundred soldiers at Thermopylae who closed ranks and held their position against countless thousands. Believers are to close the ranks of their group, stand firm, look the devil in the eye, and let him know that not an inch of ground will be yielded.
Then, to give his reader a note of confidence, he continues with, “knowing that the same sufferings are experienced.” Vincent’s Word Studies notes the peculiar construction of the words, which is ignored by almost all translations. It more literally reads, “the same things the sufferings.” Darby says, “the selfsame sufferings.” The GNT says, “the same kind of sufferings.”
The stress is on the similarity between the sufferings of various groups of believers. It is a hint that the devil employs the same tired tactics again and again. If believers simply pay heed to the word, they will understand this, be aware of his actions, and be able to stand firm in the face of his onslaughts. Peter then says that these selfsame sufferings are “experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”
It is a correct rendering, brotherhood. This is its second and last use in Scripture. It speaks of the church in a collective sense. What is experienced by those in the church is not only in isolated instances, but it is common to the brotherhood throughout the church. Peter’s words are then a note that if others are facing such things, and if they are able to prevail, then so can those who are reading his words. The force of his words is that of unity of determination in standing against the devil.
Life application: Peter tells the individual believer that no matter what we are going through, other believers in the world are going through the same things elsewhere. He certainly knows that this doesn’t lessen our own suffering, but it should help in the sense that at least we know we are not alone in what we are dealing with.
God isn’t allowing something unique to overtake you, and your burden is something that you can – in fact – deal with. So, stand fast in the faith you have, and resist what the devil is sending your way. Paul spoke in the same terms as Peter does in Ephesians 6. Here is a portion of that for you to consider –
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 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. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13
When we face the temptations or the sufferings the devil sends our way, we need to be prepared for them by putting on “the whole armor of God.” The only way we can do this is to be prepared in advance. If we don’t know the Bible, then when the time of trial comes, we cannot use it for our defense. If we haven’t developed strong faith, we can’t exercise it when needed. Now is the time for us to prepare for life’s trials. Stand firm and steadfast, grounded in the gospel of your salvation.
Lord Jesus, You know our trials and temptations all too well. You know the areas where we are lacking the proper discipline to handle more. So, Lord, be with us and protect us from the rage of the devil. Be our Shield and our Defender as we head through the maze of life’s challenges. Thank You Lord Jesus. Amen.