Life-Study of 1 Peterby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 5:6 Peter says, “Therefore, be humbled under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” Preachers and teachers often quote the phrase “the mighty hand of God” without regard to what it means in the book of 1 Peter as a whole. As a result, this verse concerning the mighty hand of God has been misused.
We have seen that the entire book of 1 Peter is on God’s government, and that God’s government is administrated through His judgment. God’s judgment is carried out in the environment arranged according to His sovereignty. For example, in order to judge Noah’s generation, God arranged a great catastrophe, the flood. Only God could have done such a thing. The flood that terminated the human race at the time of Noah was brought about by the mighty hand of God. In 5:6 the mighty hand of God refers to God’s administrating hand seen especially in His judgment.
God’s hand is more mighty in His judgment than in His salvation. Of course, in saving us, God’s hand is mighty. But we see much more of the might of His hand in His judgment. Suppose a certain brother continues to enjoy worldly entertainment long after he has been saved. Although he has truly been saved, he still loves the world. But one day he has a car accident, an accident arranged by the mighty hand of God, and that accident causes him to seek the Lord in a deeper way than he ever did before. This is an illustration of God’s hand exercised in judgment.
According to Peter’s word in 5:6-8, we need to do three things that are related to our experience of the mighty hand of God. First, we should humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand. Second, we should cast all our anxiety on Him. Third, we need to be sober and watch. Everything that happens to us is under God’s mighty hand. There is no need for us to worry or be anxious. We should simply humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand and not resist it. Then we should cast all the troubles that cause our anxiety upon the Lord. Along with this, we need to be sober and watchful. If we cast all our anxiety on God, we shall have a sober mind, and we shall be clear about our situation. Furthermore, we shall be watchful regarding our adversary, the Devil, who walks about as a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. If we are watchful, we shall not be deceived when Satan incarnates himself in the form of anxiety. On the contrary, the adversary, the roaring lion, will be defeated by us. This is the proper understanding of this portion of the Word.
In 5:10 Peter goes on to say, “But the God of all grace, who called you into His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground you.” “But,” indicating a contrast, brings in comfort and encouragement to the suffering believers. The contrast is between the sufferings in verse 9 and the God of all grace in verse 10. If we had verse 9 without verse 10, we would be lacking in hope and encouragement. However, in 5:10 Peter seems to be saying to the suffering believers, “You and your brotherhood are suffering your adversary’s threatening, the Devil’s lion-roar, only for a little while. But the God of all grace, of the bountiful and gracious supply of life that exceeds all your need, will perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground you.”
In this verse all grace refers to the riches of the bountiful supply of the divine life in many aspects ministered to us in many steps of the divine operation on and in us in God’s economy. The initial step is to call us, and the consummate one is to glorify us, as mentioned here, “who called you into His eternal glory.” Between these two steps are His loving care while He is disciplining us, and His perfecting, establishing, strengthening, and grounding work in us. In all these divine acts, the bountiful supply of the divine life is ministered to us as grace in varied experiences. The God of such grace will perfect, establish, strengthen, and ground the persecuted believers after they suffer a little while.
The term “the God of all grace” is unique, found in the New Testament only in 5:10. It may be common for Christians to speak of the God of mercy. But do you know of anyone who uses the expression the God of all grace? Peter does not say merely that God is the God of grace; he says that God is the God of all grace. In this expression once again Peter shows his characteristic use of adjectives. The suffering believers should be encouraged by the fact that, although they are suffering, their God is the God of all grace. Furthermore, He has called us into eternal glory, a glory that is unlimited in both space and time.
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