1 Peter 5:8-11

1 Peter 5:8‑11  •  11 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Here again the apostle exhorts to be vigilant and to watch. In his former injunction (iv. 7) it was in view of the end of all as being drawn nigh; here it is because of danger from their great adversary.
“Be vigilant, watch: 1your adversary [the] devil as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist, steadfast in faith, knowing that the same sufferings are accomplished in your brotherhood that [is] in the world.”
It is of interest to note how distinctly the enemy is presented as the power of evil with which we have to cope, no less than our God and the Lord Jesus to care for us. Here, as the apostle regards us not as the Epistle to the Hebrews in view of the sanctuary, but as at the same time exposed to the peculiar stress of the desert, he appropriately sets forth our adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion walking about, and seeking whom he may devour.
To the Roman saints, exhorted to be wise for that which is good, and simple as to evil, the word is that the God of peace shall bruise Satan under their feet shortly, and the grace of Christ meanwhile with them. What a blessing had they so continued, instead of human wisdom and ambition, leaving room in time for the most loathsome system of impurity, imposture, pride, and bloodshed!
To the Corinthian assembly, not adequately weaned from philosophic wisdom and the persuasive words of excellent speech, the warning is, as the serpent beguiled Eve by his craft, lest their thoughts should be corrupted from simplicity as to Christ. False apostles can thus pass as ministers of righteousness, as Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
The Ephesian saints, carried on to the highest plane, are characteristically reminded of the victory over the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience, now led captive but having wiles, with towering pretensions in the heavenlies, against which we need the panoply of God. The Colossian saints have a somewhat similar reference, though much shorter.
Nor need we here dwell on the hindrance of Satan to the apostle, or on his temptation of the saints in Thessalonica, as spoken of in the First Epistle; nor on the awful prediction of his future power at the end of the age as in the Second.
We can passingly notice what more affects leaders, the fault and the snare of the devil endangering an overseer, as in 1 Tim. 3:6, 76Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:6‑7); and the possible recovery from his snare, as in the Second Epistle (2:22, 26), for adversaries that repent.
We are entitled to resist him as the Epistle of James (4) also urges, however loudly he may roar, and menace with destruction. He is a conquered foe, as faith knows; and the name of Him we confess is ample to terrify him. But confidence in our wisdom, or righteousness, exposes to inevitable defeat. Our strength is in Christ, whose grace suffices, and power is perfected in weakness. Therefore we are bid to resist, steadfast in faith. Some understand “in the faith;” but I question the strength in such an encounter of faith thus objectively viewed. It appears rather to be encouragement given to our subjective faith in the Lord. Our apostle is eminently practical, however important it is that we be sound in the faith. It is no strange thing to be thus assailed. So he reminds us that we know that the selfsame sufferings are accomplished in the brotherhood that is in the world. They have like relationships to God which expose them to persecution through the spite of Satan against Christ, even more than against themselves.
If the apostle does not hide from the pilgrim the power and malice of the enemy in this desert world, what fervor characterizes him when he sets God before us in that love which is above every danger and difficulty, turning all for good to those that love Him!
“But the God of all grace that called you unto his everlasting glory in Christ Jesus, after having suffered a little while, shall himself perfect, stablish, strengthen, ground: to him [be or, is] the glory and the might for the ages of the ages. Amen” (vers. 10, 11).
It is more than a closing prayer, a most confident assurance based on a full knowledge of God as revealed in Christ, and on the already accomplished work of redemption displayed in the power of His resurrection. As Peter began the epistle, so he concluded it. He, like Paul as to his beloved Philippian brethren, had confidence in this very thing, that He who began in them a good work would complete it until Jesus Christ's day. Satan might roar and devour. But, as Paul wrote to the Roman saints, if God be for us, who against us? He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him grant us all things? Who shall lay acccusation against God's elect? God is He that justifies: who is he that condemns? Christ is He that died, yea rather that was raised, who is also at God's right hand, who also intercedes for us: who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? According as it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we were accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay in all these things we more than conquered through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The apostle of the circumcision followed the apostle of the uncircumcision in tracing all blessing to the God and Father of our Lord. Jesus Christ, not rising to the height before us in Ephesians but alike pointing to the same source in his opening words. As the resurrection was the mighty key-note to the one, the ascension gave the heavenly mark to the other. Both were led of the Spirit to present the divine source flowing in the richest streams of goodness suited to the varying circumstances of the saints addressed. None is so characterized as Paul by revealing the eternal and immense counsels of God for the universe with the glorified Christ at the head of all things, heavenly and earthly, and the church, His body, above any question of Jew or Greek, the sharer as His bride of all given to Him.
Yet Peter was inspired here to speak of “the God of all grace,” a title of peculiar significance and for all saints wherever and whatever they might be; but how divinely wise and suited to the Christian elect of the Jewish dispersion Many of them had, no doubt, heard Paul and his companions who long labored in their part of the East, as Peter had not. Paul indeed was called to write elaborately and powerfully to the believing Hebrews, and bring them definitely out of the old legal elements which had so straitened and hampered them, before judgment was actually accomplished on the earthly city and sanctuary. So on Peter devolved the task of feeding and tending by his epistles those sheep who needed comfort and confirmation, now that their great teacher was no more to see their face.
Thus, while there are the clearest tokens of identity between what Peter writes and his preachings in the Acts of the Apostles, he too teaches here, as we have already seen, much beyond what was then required or seasonable. This wondrously beautiful summary before us reflects that advance with all due meatless and forcible compression
Not the God of our fathers which glorified His servant Jesus, but “the God of all grace that called you unto his everlasting glory in Christ Jesus.” It is not merely the God of the promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but the God of all overcoming love as manifested in Christ Jesus, superior to, not weakness and failure alone, but the hatred of the enemy seemingly successful to the uttermost in the cross, which His grace turned to be the ground of deep and righteous judgment of sin, yea, making them, the believers, now as spotless in His eyes as the Lamb, through His precious blood. Nor this only; for He called us, not to salvation of souls alone, great as this grace is, but to His everlasting glory in Christ. For it is a glory which far exceeds the earthly kingdom, for its thousand years of righteousness reigning, and Satan shut up, and creation rejoicing after its long thraldom of vanity and groan. The God of all grace, who called saints to His everlasting glory in Christ Jesus, is the best security against all that creature can or cannot do meanwhile; and the more, because as Father He carries on a constant, watchful, and righteous government of His children all through the wilderness (chap. 1:13-17).
But there is another needed and weighty consideration. As Jews they might associate with the Christ immunity from suffering and promotion to high honor; but as Christians, their portion is to share His sufferings for righteousness and love and truth. No mistake more common in Christendom than looking for present reward and distinction and ease through the gospel and the church. But it is a hateful lie of Satan. The Corinthian saints slipped easily into this snare, to the apostle Paul's pain and horror (1 Cor. 4:8-148Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. 9For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. 10We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable, but we are despised. 11Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; 12And labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: 13Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. 14I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. (1 Corinthians 4:8‑14)); it was still more natural for such as had been Jews. So the apostle Peter seeks throughout to impress suffering as the necessary path of the Christian, and “after having suffered a little while,” as his beloved brother to the Hebrews (x. 32-39), fortified by not a few even of old (xi. 3538) but above all by His case who sums up all as our perfect exemplar (xii. 2, 3). It is through suffering in faith and patience that we are disciplined and bear fruit to Him who deigns thus to prune the branches of the vine.
And what more emphatic than the cheering declaration to which he that wrote put his soul, as one who had proved it so truly in his own experience that the God of all grace “Himself shall perfect, stablish, strengthen, ground.” Could those addressed, could we, lose one of these mighty encouragements? Could we allow them to lack the most definite meaning, or to be heaped together as a fagot deriving its virtue from the binding together of the weak? Are they not each strong and expressive, to give without bands the utmost possible confidence in His all-sufficient love to us? It is much that He will “perfect” those who in themselves lack all, in the sense of a complete furnishing and adjustment. It is more that He will “stablish” those who need to be turned inside out, as Peter once in his self-confidence, to lean on Himself and His word by faith. It is precious that He will “strengthen” those that know themselves as weak as water spilled on the ground, and changeable as the wind. It is if possible more, that He will “ground” on the Rock that never moves, those who learn deeply their nothingness, and worse still.
Be it ours to join with his immediate object, in the apostle's ascription of praise and thanksgiving, “to Him be (or is) the might unto the ages of the ages. Amen.” Assuredly “the glory” is His also, but the connection here seems to strengthen the testimony of the few witnesses (A. B 23, ancient Latin copies, &c.) which express only His “might” in the face of the adversary. The great majority however read “the glory and the might,” which was a frequent phrase, as in 1 Peter 4:1111If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11), Jude 2525To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (Jude 25) enlarged, and Rev. 1:55And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (Revelation 1:5). But “dominion “answers to κυριότης, rather than to κράτος as to which translators vacillate.