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Weekly Word

Entries in Perfect (1)

Tuesday
Mar052013

Peter's Prayer for Believers

Today we will finish the book of 1 Peter as we look at 1 Peter 5:10-14.  It begins with a prayer that Peter prays for them and, by extension, for us today.  Before we look at the specifics for which Peter prays, let’s look at his descriptions of the God to whom he prays.

The God To Whom Peter Prays

First Peter describes Him as the “God of all grace.”  He is the source of all the good things that have come into our life.  James 1:7 says, “Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of lights in whom there is no shadow of turning.”  Even things that we may think came from other people, can be traced back to God when we ask questions such as: Who gave them the health, strength, finances etc…, to do what they did?  What moved their heart to help me?  Did they make themselves?  Good comes to us through the creation which God himself made.  Thus he is the source of all good.

He is also the God of all grace in the sense that, when we are in difficult times, He is the One to whom we should turn.  His potential supply of help and grace is inexhaustible.  He has “all” the grace we need.

Second, God has called us into His glory by Jesus.  Just as he told us, Jesus is the door by which we are invited to participate and enjoy the glory of God.  This God who has made a way for you to have a part in His glory is the God Peter addresses.  Notice that Peter qualifies this with the statement, “after you have suffered a little while.”  Now my flesh really wishes Peter had left that out.  Suffering has been a big part of this letter.  Peter recognizes that in this life we have our particular lot of suffering.  Here, Peter agrees with what Paul said in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  After the sufferings of this present world, we will join God in his eternal glory.  In that moment this present suffering will seem small, light, and incomparable.  That may not make it easy now.  But it is part of the Hope that we hold.

Lastly, in verse 11, we see that God is the only One worthy of the glory and power of creation.  Any glory and power of this world has its being in Him.  Thus any glory it has reflects upon the God who made it.  Within our own lives we should live in a way that is reflective of the glory that he has.  And, if there is any praise or glory back to us from people, it really is ultimately deflected back to Him.  All glory and all Power really do exist for his purposes and are representative of Him.

Peter Prays that God Would…

He prays that God would perfect us.  The word for perfect here means to mend or fix that which is broken.  As a fisherman, Peter had “perfected” many a net so that he could use it again.  Like a ship that has gone through a storm, we may be beat up and wounded.  Perhaps, like the shipwreck that Paul went through, we may have thrown some precious cargo and tackle overboard in order to survive.  Peter prays that God would fix and mend their lives.  He prays that God would equip them with whatever needful thing they have lost and supply any new thing necessary for them to fulfill the purpose for which they have been made.  We need to cooperate with this perfecting in our lives.  Some things that are painful or difficult are the very things that God is using to mend and fix us, if we look to Him in faith and trust.

He also prays that God would establish us.  This word means to be firmly set.  It is the picture that we will not be easily knocked over or moved.  Clearly we are to be firmly set in Jesus.  So that we will not be easily swayed or knocked off of our dependence and faith in Him.

Next he prays that God will strengthen us.  This word does often refer to physical strength, but I am quite confident that Peter has an inner strength in mind here.  Thus he is asking for God to strengthen their hearts and souls.  Our hearts and minds are inundated daily by the temptations and deceits of our own sinful flesh and of our enemy the devil.  Thus we will need strength in order for our faith to persevere through the individual tests and to the end of our life. 

Lastly he prays that God would settle us.  This word literally means to put a foundation under something.  Clearly, as I said earlier, this foundation is Jesus.  1 Corinthians 3:11, “No other foundation can anyone lay that that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.”  However, it is more than just a name or an identity.  God places the life, teachings, work, death, and resurrection of Jesus under us as a foundation.  He does this by giving us teachers, fellow believers, and the Holy Spirit.  As we cooperate with this process we are enabled to build upon a foundation that can never fail.  When the person and work of Jesus is the basis for everything we do then we can say that God has finished this task in our life ; )

Peter’s Closing Comments

Verses 12-14 are the closing of this letter.  Peter makes it clear that his purpose in this letter was to exhort and testify that they had received the “true grace of God.”  Much speculation had traveled throughout the empire and the apostles had to be vigilant all the time in the area of doctrine.  He encourages them that they have already received the “true” grace of God, as opposed to any new “grace of God” that someone might be shilling.  Though it might not seem like enough, we have been given the grace that God knows will not only help us, but is all we need.  We can trust his provision.  In light of a day and age that speculates on everything, we need to hear this message now more than ever.  Every year a new speculation about religious conspiracies within Christianity or even in its origin try to question whether we have been given the true grace of God.  It is true that many Christian groups have added to God’s Word.  However, in the Bible we have the eye witness testimony of men who were there and verify that the things we have recorded are true.  I won’t go into it here, but the text of the Bible is without question the most verified ancient text.  Any attempts to change its text have been easily spotted throughout history and were never global in their acceptance.  We can be confident that we have just read the actual letter that Peter wrote to believers in the first century.

Peter also exchanges greetings from the church where he is writing.  The “she” referred here is tied to the believers who are receiving the letter by the phrase “elect together.”  This clearly is a reference to the church (a feminine noun that would use a feminine pronoun) rather than a specific woman.  It is interesting that Peter appears to be in Babylon.  If it is meant literally then it would be a reference to the Babylon of the Mesopotamia.  However, many have pointed to a possible coded reference to Rome.  John appears to do this in the book of Revelation.  So it is possible.  Another reason to believe that this may be a reference to Rome is that in the book of 2 Peter 1:14, Peter mentions this first letter and that he is about to be put to death.  Since the clear testimony of history is that Peter died in Rome, it is very likely that he was in Rome which led to his martyr.  Many Protestants have rejected this because of the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching that Peter was the first Pope in Rome.  There is no evidence that Peter ever was a Bishop or Pope in Rome.  Yet, we need not be blind to the fact that Peter probably interacted with the Roman church before his execution.  These two letter appear to have been written in the period leading up to his death.

Peter’s last statement is to remind them of their duty to love one another.  He does so by referring to a customary greeting, the kiss.  The biblical injunction here is emphasizing the kind of greeting rather than the act of greeting itself.  As Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, so believers are to reject such hypocritical and deceptive techniques.  They are to truly love one another and not hide behind the mask of social customs.  Then he prays peace to those who are in Jesus.

Are you in Jesus today?  That means you have trusted in him to be the forgiver of your sins.  You have looked to his death as the price of your own sins.  You have trusted in his work on your behalf to make thing right between you and God.  Have you done this?  Don’t put it off.  God has loved you within time and throughout history.  It is revealed to you today through this letter that Peter wrote.  Your faith is not a leap of faith, but a trusting in the objective reality of the testimony of not just Peter, but also thousands who witness the coming of the Savior of the World, Jesus.

Peter's Prayer audio