1 Peter 5:14

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Greet one another with a kiss of love.
Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen. 1 Peter 5:14

In the final verse of his first epistle, Peter begins with the thought, “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” This is the same general sentiment that Paul uses four times in his epistles by saying, “Greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16).

This was, and still is, the custom in many parts of the world. The kiss is intended as a greeting, just as western nations today shake hands or possibly hug, depending on familiarity. In the Far East, a deep and respectful bow is given in substitute of this.

Although this is a prescriptive epistle, intent must always be considered. Is Peter mandating that all people in all churches “Greet one another with a kiss of love?” The answer must be considered carefully.

The first kiss noted in the Bible in Genesis 27:26 when Isaac blessed his son Jacob before he departed to Padan Aram. From that point, the kiss is seen among the covenant people and among those who aren’t yet in the covenant, thus demonstrating the cultural nature of the greeting. It is used in the same way we use a handshake. When Jacob met Rachel, without knowing her in any familiar way yet, he kissed her. In 2 Samuel 20, the following exchange begins with a kiss of greeting and ends in death –

“Then Joab said to Amasa, ‘Are you in health, my brother?’ And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. But Amasa did not notice the sword that was in Joab’s hand. And he struck him with it in the stomach, and his entrails poured out on the ground; and he did not strike him again. Thus he died.” 2 Samuel 20:9, 10

In 1 Samuel 20:41, David and Jonathan, close male friends, gave a fraternal kiss in accord with the culture before departing. And, Proverbs 27:6 notes the following –

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:6

This demonstrates clearly that the kiss is cultural because even enemies will kiss rather than shake hands. This is seen in these parts of the world today when leaders who are at war with each other still greet with a kiss. Exchanging “kiss” with shaking of hands in this Proverb would hold exactly the same meaning and intent.

And as a premier example of this, read the following exchange between Jesus and Simon the Pharisee –

“And He said to him, ‘You have rightly judged.’ Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.’” Luke 7:43-47

And of course, the most famous kiss in history is recorded concerning Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and reflects the sentiments of Proverbs 27:6 (above) perfectly.

It is important then to understand the cultural nature of this admonition by Peter lest we get swept up into legalism over something which is actually not intended for all cultures and in all situations. If a person with an immune deficiency were to use this verse in a prescriptive manner, he could soon be dead from receiving the germs of others.

Finally, the kisses, in these and other verses throughout the Bible, which are between men and men (such as David and Jonathan noted above) are not in any way intended to convey the perverse sin of homosexuality as modern liberals often imply. They are merely cultural and welcoming displays, just as handshakes are today. To imply this in their writings shows a disregard for God’s order in the natural world.

After this note of fraternal affection, Peter next says, “Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus.” To a Jew, the word “peace” is deeper than what we may think of it today, that of a state of quiet. It involves an entire state of contentment and calm. Thus, Peter’s words are a petition for wholeness and blessing, leading to what one might call a “fully satisfied soul.” He then finishes with, “Amen.” The word signifies “so be it.” And for all who read his letter of five chapters and 105 verses, taking it to heart, may it be so. Amen.

Life application:  Thank you for sharing in the journey we have made through this wonderful inspired letter. May we take heed the admonitions given, remember the instructions provided, and meditate on the wisdom imparted all the days of our lives.

Peter was an eyewitness to Christ. He was there all during His ministry, saw firsthand the transfiguration, stumbled at the crucifixion, and was restored at the resurrection. He beheld the ascension and participated in the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Peter sat with the early elders in the church and continued his witness of the work of Jesus Christ throughout his life.

This letter, along with the other 65 books of the Bible, testifies to the Person and work of Jesus Christ. He is the focus of Scripture and we are to keep our eyes and thoughts directed at Him alone. Next stop, 2 Peter. Amen!

Oh Heavenly Father! Thank you for the wisdom and instruction imparted through the hands of your servants who have brought us the words of Scripture. Help us to remember what we have learned and to follow You all the more faithfully because of it. We look forward to reading Your word daily, and with anticipation and expectation of great wonders to come as we do. Amen.





1 Peter 5:13

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son. 1 Peter 5:13

After noting that Silvanus was the one who was with him in the writing of the epistle, Peter now says, “She who is in Babylon.” The word translated as “She” is simply a feminine article, and it is debated who or what is being referred to. It could be a prominent woman, Peter’s wife, or the church. As the address is made to the “pilgrims of the dispersion,” it seems likely that Peter is speaking of the church where he is at. Otherwise, if an individual, it would have to be someone known to every single addressee simply as “she.” It is unlikely that anyone would be in such a position of renown. If it was Peter’s wife, it would be far more likely that he would indicate it as such.

Further, it then says, “who is in Babylon.” This brings in greater need for speculation. Is Peter referring to a literal Babylon, or is he using the term in an allegorical sense. Babylon as a church location is otherwise unknown in the New Testament, and as Rome was a city of great pagan worship and debauchery, and because Rome was the military power which ruled over Israel at the time – just as literal Babylon once ruled over Israel in the past – it is highly likely that Peter is using what had become a commonly used phrase concerning Rome.

An argument against this comes from Professor Salmond, who is then cited by Vincent’s Word Studies. His commentary is a bit long, but worth citing because it is filled with fallacious arguments. A short rebuttal will be inserted and underlined against some of his thoughts –

“In favor of this allegorical interpretation it is urged that there are other occurrences of Babylon in the New Testament as a mystical name for Rome (Revelation 14:8; Revelation 18:2, Revelation 18:10); that it is in the highest degree unlikely that Peter should have made the Assyrian Babylon his residence or missionary centre, especially in view of a statement by Josephus indicating that the Emperor Claudius had expelled the Jews from that city and neighborhood (Historical writings clearly indicate that literal Babylon had been cleared of Jews by the Romans. The obvious anger over such a thing would then make assigning the term “Babylon” to Rome all the more likely); and that tradition connects Peter with Rome, but not with Babylon (The same writers who hold steadfastly to the traditions of the apostles – such as their types and locations of death – suddenly refuse to hold to the same traditions over this issue? It is almost universally accepted that Peter was in Rome and was eventually martyred in Rome). The fact, however, that the word is mystically used in a mystical book like the Apocalypse – a book, too, which is steeped in the spirit and terminology of the Old Testament – is no argument for the mystical use of the word in writings of a different type (Of course it is, especially when the exact same type of terminology is spoken about concerning Jerusalem in Revelation 11:8. Further, an exacting description of this “Babylon” is given in Revelation 17:9, clearly identifying it as Rome – known as the city of seven hills into antiquity).  The allegorical interpretation becomes still less likely when it is observed that other geographical designations in this epistle (1 Peter 1:1) have undoubtedly the literal meaning (This is ridiculous. Every epistle is addressed to real people in real locations. Then, within the epistle, allegorical and metaphorical terminology is used as it seems fit to the author, such as in 1 Corinthians 15:32). The tradition itself, too, is uncertain. The statement in Josephus does not bear all that it is made to bear (It is of the highest convenience to use an ancient writing when it fits one’s presuppositions, and then to disregard it when it doesn’t!). There is no reason to suppose that, at the time when this epistle was written, the city of Rome was currently known among Christians as Babylon (Illogical. If John is writing about Rome in the Revelation, then it is a 100% reason to so suppose). On the contrary, wherever it is mentioned in the New Testament, with the single exception of the Apocalypse (and even there it is distinguished as ‘Babylon, the great’), it gets its usual name, Rome (Fallacy. This is an argument from silence, and has nothing to do with Peter’s intentional use of the word, if he is applying it to Rome. Further, the same could be said of the name “Babylon” as used in Scripture. It is a literal city referred to three times in Matthew and once in Acts 7, but in Acts it cites Amos 5:27, which originally referred to Damascus, not Babylon. Further, the very fact that it says “Great” as a qualifier of “Babylon” demonstrates that something other than the literal Babylon is being referred to there). So far, too, from the Assyrian Babylon being practically in a deserted state at this date, there is very good ground for believing that the Jewish population (not to speak of the heathen) of the city and vicinity was very considerable. For these and other reasons a succession of distinguished interpreters and historians, from Erasmus and Calvin, on to Neander, Weiss, Reuss, Huther, etc., have rightly held by the literal sense (Fallacy. This is an appeal to popularity and an appeal to fame. Just because a group of people, or someone of importance (or some level of fame), holds to a position, it does not make that position correct).”

Unless one has a presupposition that this cannot be Rome which Peter is referring to, it is far more probable that it is – in fact – Rome. The use of “Babylon” in this case is logical, consistent with Revelation which is certainly speaking of Rome, and it is also consistent with the use of other such designations and allegorical statements in the New Testament writings.

Peter, most probably writing from Rome as argued for here, next says, “elect together with you.” Those in “Babylon” are considered elect together with those he is addressing as noted in 1 Peter 1:1. The very fact that Rome is not mentioned in Peter’s initial greeting there further substantiates that he is writing from Rome. Otherwise, he would have certainly included them in his epistle. The omission of such a great body of believers, who are also elect (see Romans 1:7), is improbable at best.

After this, the words “greets you” are given to expand on the words “She who is in Babylon.” It is a way of saying that one church of elect believers is greeting another church of elect believers through the epistle. From there, he ends with, “and so does Mark.”

Here it is certainly referring to John Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark. He is the same person who traveled with Paul and Barnabas on missionary journeys. He eventually came to be with Peter during the time of the writing of this letter. In this, the affection Peter had for him is so great that he calls him – as Paul refers to Timothy several times – “my son.” It is a tender note of the love between the two which had grown throughout the years they had been together.

Life application: In the ultimate sense, you too are being greeted in this letter because the letter made its way into the Bible. See, a personal letter from Peter to you from Babylon. Save the stamp, it could be a collector’s item!

Thank You Lord for including each of us who have called on Christ Jesus in the unfolding pages of Your glorious plan for the redeemed of the ages! How precious it is to be one of the elect, holy and chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world! Here’s a great “Hallelujah” to You! Amen.




1 Peter 5:12

Monday, 30 December 2019

By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand. 1 Peter 5:12

Peter now begins the closing section of the epistle. He begins with, “By Silvanus.” This is certainly the same person who traveled with Paul, known both as Silas and Silvanus. The shorter name is something commonly seen, just as a nickname today would be. Someone named Richard is shortened to Dick. Someone named James is shortened to Jim. In the Bible, Priscilla is shortened to Prisca. And the name Silvanus is shortened to Silas. He is seen with Paul in Acts quite a few times, such as in Acts 18 –

“When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.” Acts 18:5

Lining the timeline of that account up with his words in 2 Corinthians, it is evident that this is the same person as Silvanus –

“And in this confidence I intended to come to you before, that you might have a second benefit— 16 to pass by way of you to Macedonia, to come again from Macedonia to you, and be helped by you on my way to Judea. 17 Therefore, when I was planning this, did I do it lightly? Or the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh, that with me there should be Yes, Yes, and No, No? 18 But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes.” 2 Corinthians 1:15-19

With this established, it is apparent, once again, that because Silvanus is ministering the gospel with both Paul and Peter, that he is ministering the same gospel, not two different gospels – one for Jew and one for Gentile. This is evidenced by the rest of the words of the verse, beginning with “our faithful brother.”

The Greek rather reads, “the faithful brother.” The words here tell us several things. Silvanus was well known by his name alone among the churches. It is evident that he had traveled through them extensively. This is evidenced by his frequent travels with Paul throughout all of the area. It also tells us that he was considered highly trustworthy, as is evidenced by Paul’s epistles. His character was well known and well-received by all.

Peter then adds in, “as I consider him.” In other words, Peter gives his stamp of approval along with Paul’s. It is a note of complete conviction. Silvanus was a careful herald of the one gospel preached by both men, and he was trustworthy to proclaim that unified message to both Jew and Gentile.

Peter then says, “I have written to you briefly.” The Greek reads, “through few.” In other words, he has used very few words to train and exhort those he is addressing. He could have gone on and on, but the length of the letter, and its precision of thought, was sufficient to convey his intent concerning what was on his mind.

He next sums up the entire letter by saying, “exhorting and testifying.” Peter has both spurred them on in their knowledge and walk with Christ through exhortation, and he has testified to what he knows to be the truth when necessary. The word translated as “testifying” is only found here in the New Testament. It intensifies the word which signifies “to bear witness,” and thus it means something like “attesting further.” Peter has been full and complete in his words, despite the short nature of the letter. And this exhortation and testifying is “that this is the true grace of God.”

Peter had previously waffled on the gospel. This is found clearly written out by Paul in Galatians 2:11-21. Paul rebuked Peter because he had allowed the Jews to intimidate him and draw back from the freedom found in Christ. Since that time, Peter had corrected his deficiencies to the point where he was useable by God to even write his own epistle on the surety of the gospel. With his now firm stand on the gospel of Jesus Christ, he is assuring the recipients of his letter that what he is telling them is not a word of waffling, but of conviction. It is the word “in which you stand.”

It is the gospel which Paul preached, and which Peter was in complete agreement with, as Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul calls him Cephas. First Paul uses the same terminology by saying, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand.” (1 Corinthians 15:1). He then mentions Peter, or Cephas,” along with the other apostles in 1 Corinthians 15:5-7. And then he says of all of them in 1 Corinthians 15:11 –

“Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”

There is one, unified gospel preached by all of the apostles, and it is that one gospel in which all stand.

Life application: Two questions for each of us arise from this verse –

1) If Peter were here today, would he consider you, as he considered Silvanus, a “faithful brother?” Are you trustworthy to handle and transmit the word of God faithfully? Think on this and evaluate how you treat the Bible and if you are willing to share it with others who are lacking in the grace of God.

2) Do you stand firmly on the Person of Jesus Christ? And if you feel you do, what gospel are you placing your faith in? There is one gospel presented in the Bible – God united with human flesh, lived the perfect life we can’t live, died on a cross to pay for our sins, and was resurrected to eternal life. His death is fully sufficient to reconcile us to God and He now sits at the right hand of God ever interceding for those who have called on Him as Lord.

Stand firm in the gospel of Jesus Christ, be willing to share this gospel with others, and ensure that when you do share the gospel, you do it in a manner which squares with the biblical account.

Heavenly Father, we trust in your grace, displayed in the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. Be with us as we head out into the world. Like Silvanus who carried this message with both Peter and Paul, send us as tried and true servants to share with others the same grace we have received and by which we stand. May You be pleased with us as we faithfully go forth. Amen.




1 Peter 5:11

Sunday, 29 December 2019

To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:11

Here, Peter pens forth a doxology of great praise and honor. But there is a question which arises, and which must be resolved right at the beginning of it. He says, “To Him.” Who is Peter speaking of here? If you review the previous verses, and if you are stuck in a particular theology, your answer may be biased. Or, if you are unsure, it may be hard to decide.

The previous verse said, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” So, is Peter speaking of God or of Jesus? Jesus is the nearest antecedent, but God is the main subject of the verse. Before reading further in the comments, think about it, decide, and have in mind why you made your decision.

With your decision in mind, be it “God” or “Jesus,” Peter says, “To Him be the glory.” If you chose “God,” is it because to Him alone belongs the glory? This is surely true. It is stated explicitly in Isaiah 42:8 and 48:11 –

am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.


For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it;
For how should My name be profaned?
And I will not give My glory to another.

Peter is a Jew, writing to Jews (1 Peter 1:1). For Him to speak of the glory belonging to anyone but God would be the epitome of blasphemy. His recipients would quickly track him down, stone him to death, and then pile up a heap of stones over his broken body. So “God” is surely correct. And so, he continues with, “and the dominion.”

In 1 Timothy 6:16, Paul says –

“…who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.”

It is clear that Jesus has been seen, and that He can be seen. Therefore, Paul is speaking of God. But there he speaks of God’s everlasting power using the same word, kratos, as Peter does in this verse. Therefore, Peter must be speaking of God. For him to ascribe the “dominion,” meaning “power,” to Jesus would once again bring on the wrath of his fellow Jews for ascribing something which belongs to God alone to a mere mortal. This is certain.

And Peter continues next with, “forever and ever.” It is a Hebrew expression, derived from the words olam v’ed. Olam signifies to the distant horizon and thus “to the vanishing point.” By itself, it can signify eternity, but it can also mean “to the end of something,” such as when the Law of Moses would, at some point, come to its end. When it was given, that point was unknown. V’ed means “and again.” This is a stress which would extend the meaning of olam to “eternity” in the absolute sense. The Greek reads eis tous aiōnas tōn aiōnōn, or “to the ages of the ages.” It is comparable expression to the Hebrew, and therefore, a suitable English translation would be “Forever and ever.” Each signifies an unending time to this glory and dominion.

Again, Peter’s words must be speaking of God, because only God is eternal, and only God possesses the attributes which he is speaking of. However, the exact same words were written out by Peter just one chapter earlier –

“If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

If God receives these things “through Jesus Christ,” and it is received “forever and ever,” then it means that Jesus Christ is the eternal means by how this comes about. It elevates Jesus to the position of deity within the Godhead. This is then further confirmed elsewhere in Scripture where one or more of the terms is again used when speaking only of Jesus. For example, Peter closes out his second epistle with the assured words that he is referring to Jesus –

“You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:17. 18

With the understanding now that Peter is referring to both God and Jesus, who is God, he finishes with, “Amen.” So be it. His doxology is complete and finished, and his “Amen” proclaims that it is so.

Life application: An Old Testament reference to the deity of Jesus is found in Daniel 7 –

The fact is that Peter is also speaking of Jesus, who is God. Glory and dominion properly belong to God, but the same terms refer back to the book of Daniel when referring to the Son of Man –

“I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13, 14

God guards His glory and refuses to allow it to be shared with another. Jesus is the One who reveals to us the glory of the invisible God. Jesus is God. To Him then belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen!

What a marvelous story the Bible tells of Your love for us! Though You are infinitely beyond our comprehension, You came and clothed Yourself in the form of a Man so that we may know who You truly are in a way that we can understand. Thank You, O God, for our Lord Jesus! Amen.




1 Peter 5:10

Saturday, 28 December 2019

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10

Peter has been speaking of the necessity to be vigilant because the devil is out there and looking for a meal, and Christians are his meal to devour if he can get the upper hand over them. From there, he exhorted the brotherhood to remain steadfast, resisting the devil with the understanding that his attacks are not unique to individuals, but are the same throughout the brotherhood.

As this is so, he now provides words of comfort, beginning with, “But may the God of all grace.” The words here speak of God as being the Source of grace. No matter how much grace is exhibited, it could not be done so without Him first demonstrating it. All other grace is a shadowy reflection of His. The words also speak of God as the giver of all needed grace for the believer in Christ. No grace is lacking, even for the greatest afflictions we face. Paul came to understand this thought now conveyed by Peter –

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

This is why, in the same epistle, Paul could say to those at Corinth words comparable to those written by Peter now –

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

It is this God, who is the Source of all such grace, He is the same God who provides such grace and “who called us to His eternal glory.” Those who believe have been called. This is reflective of Paul’s words to those at Rome –

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30

This calling, as noted by both Paul and Peter, is to a state of glory. Peter says, “to His eternal glory.” Paul says that the calling leads to being glorified. Both speak of the doctrine of eternal salvation. God doesn’t call, justify, and glorify potentially. He does so actually. There is no hint in the writings of Scripture that God will fail to glorify those He has called. The idea is abhorrent to the very nature of God and His calling.

Peter next says, “by Christ Jesus.” The Greek reads, “in Christ Jesus,” though some manuscripts leave off the name “Jesus” and simply say “in Christ.” God has done all of the work necessary, as an act of grace, and He has done it in the sphere of the Person and work of Christ. This extends beyond His physical Person to the concept of what He would do, as was explicitly prophesied in Genesis 3:15 and from that point on. The “spirit of Christ” is seen throughout Scripture, and it is this sphere in which God has called us to His eternal glory.

With this understanding, Peter then notes the temporary state in relation to that eternal aspect by saying, “after you have suffered a while.” This is what he has referred to throughout his epistle, but specifically in the past two verses. Though the devil will cause believers to suffer, it is a part of God’s plan to allow it to happen. But at some point, God will “perfect” His people.

Unfortunately, the NKJV, following the KJV, leaves off an important possessive pronoun – “Himself.” It should say something like, “the God of all grace shall … Himself make you perfect.” There is a personal touch which is blown to smithereens by any translation which excludes this pronoun. God is personally interested in His people. He is aware of their sufferings, and He Himself will bring those things to an end, perfecting His people.

The very sufferings which we face, and which seem too overwhelming to us are the same things which a part of leading us to being perfected. It is the refiner’s fire which purifies the metal. In like manner, the afflictions God allows provide us with a spiritual refining, if we will allow them to be used in this manner.

Peter then says, “establish.” The word gives the sense of setting something fast. It becomes immovable. In this, there is no vacillation, but a complete establishment of the person. Without such sufferings, this would be lacking.

Next, he says, “strengthen.” The verb is only found here in the Bible and follows after the previous word in intent. It is to make strong or confirm in spiritual power and knowledge. The learning process which is found in suffering leads to a confirmed state of understanding. The believer can look at the process and exclaim, “I fully grasp why these things occurred.”

In such knowledge, Peter says, “and settle you.” The word signifies “to lay the foundation.” Everything that occurs in a seemingly negative sense is actually something that has led the believer through a process leading to a positive establishment of his foundation.

Remember that it is God who personally is involved in the process, and He is doing it in Christ Jesus. As this is so, we should attempt to always view the world, and what occurs to us, in that most positive and glorious light.

Life application: As is found throughout the Bible, even dozens of times in the New Testament, Christians who have been called to God’s eternal glory can and should expect to suffer. Churches that teach otherwise and that promise oodles of earthly blessings without trials should be dismissed.

Expecting trials and sufferings should be the norm, not the exception. It is these very times that demonstrate God’s grace in our lives. Furthermore, it is these trials that mold us into that image our Creator desires for us. There is no shame in sufferings and in fact the opposite is true. Even more, taking trials with grace is pleasing to God who set the example for us in the cross of Jesus.

A noteworthy example from our own time is Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. In his later years, Bill got pulmonary fibrosis of the lungs which caused him great suffering and eventually led to his death. However, during the ordeal, he never lost his testimony for Christ or his expectation of being perfected, established, strengthened, and settled. His example, along with countless other faithful believers, is noteworthy and demonstrates a true and sound faith. These people encourage us that the promises of the Lord transcend even final suffering and death.

There is a great day coming when our physical pains will be set aside for everlasting joy. Our headaches, backaches, cancers, and other diseases will be no more. As the book of Revelation triumphantly proclaims –

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

When you are suffering, in whatever form, be of the attitude that it is serving a good purpose. Determine to reflect Christ, even in your time of affliction. God has trusted you to accomplish a personal demonstration of grace on His behalf.

Heavenly Father, despite our trials and sufferings, may our lives be examples to others of the grace You have lavished upon us. May our times of trials lead others to understand that Your sovereign purposes are being worked out, even in each of us. Be with us during these times so that You will be glorified. Amen.