Thursday, August 12, 2010

Meditation on 1 Peter 5.10-11 [Part 5]


‘… The God of all grace,
who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.’
1 Peter 5.10-11
Our hope is in God alone.
The Lord is gracious toward his people. As we trace the arc of God’s providence through the Old Testament, we see that he is greatly concerned for his people. When Moses asks God to reveal his glory to him, God does that. He places Moses in a safe place, covers him and then walks by Moses. As he passes by he proclaims his glory with these words: The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…” This is the characteristic of God that is celebrated throughout the story of God’s dealings with his people. God repeatedly rescues his people from their own transgressions. Even when he punishes them, he does it in order to bring them back into the covenant blessings.
The aim of that trajectory through the Old Testament is the glory of Christ. Again and again as God’s mercy draws his people back into that right relationship, we are pointed ahead to the coming of the One who will set everything right forever. We are pointed to the Seed of Abraham, God’s Choice for king, the Son of David, the Rock that shatters the world’s kingdoms. This promised One, the anointed One, the Messiah is the man, Jesus Christ, who came in fulfillment of all of the Old Testament. That is our hope as well: the eternal glory that we will share with Christ Jesus.
That is why we are confident that we will experience the strengthening, preserving power of the almighty God as we move toward that consummation. That is why even in the face of difficulty and trial we can rest confident in God’s grace. We know that, if we are God’s child, we can say with Paul, “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meditation on 1 Peter 5.10-11 [Part 4]


‘… The God of all grace,
who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.’
1 Peter 5.10-11 ESV
The final line of this verse reminds us of the place of God in this world. Often we are reminded of the Creation Mandate, that God told Adam that he was to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. This vital directive from the Creator to his creation has been the key to man’s use of the earth.
This verse in 1 Peter is a reminder to us that our use of the earth is, in reality, a stewardship. Our dominion is not for our own benefit, but rather for the benefit of the God of all creation. He is the ruler, his kingdom is sure and eternal.
This phrase is reminiscent of the final phrase added to the end of the model prayer “for yours is the kingdom and power and the glory forever.” God is the one who is the Sovereign over all of what he has made. 
Peter is encouraging that God in calling us will give what we need to accomplish what he has called us to. This final phrase reminds us that God is fully capable of restoring, confirming, strengthening, and establishing us. He is the one to whom everything is subject.
Let us rejoice in his sovereignty, his calling, his gifting. What marvelous grace he bestows on us.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Meditation on 1 Peter 5.10-11 [Part 3]

‘… The God of all grace,
who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.’
1 Peter 5.10-11 ESV
Today we will walk through the third line of this verse: “…will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
What a marvelous thought.
God himself takes it upon himself to care for those whom he has called to glory. This phrase makes God’s care for his people intensely personal. He does not send intermediaries, he doesn’t rely on blind chance, he doesn’t just sit back and watch things happen. No, he takes personal interest in his dear ones. This reminds us of what Jesus said in John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” The love of God is expressed to us in the person of Jesus Christ. His love for us is great as his love for the Son. know that God himself is intensely concerned about the circumstances of your life, indeed, he is directing those very circumstances for his glory and your good.
How is God’s care for us shown? Peter gives us four verbs that describe God’s concern for his people. He says that God himself will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us.
The term restore refers to the process whereby we are being changed into the people that God wants. Romans 8:29 says that we are being “conformed to the image of his Son.” God has a purpose in our lives. He desires that we reflect ever more perfectly the image of Jesus Christ. It is a hopeful thing for us to realize that the trials we face are not designed to crush us, but rather to be a part of the process of our sanctification.
When Peter says confirm, he wants us to remember that God is the one working in our lives and he will surely be successful in that work. We can be completely confident that “…he that began a good work in[us] will perform it…” There is no doubt, no fear of failure with God. Even when things seem bleak, even when it seems as if each step has only led us down, remember God’s purposes. Meditate on Joseph in the dungeon in Egypt. Each event of his life to that point had only seemed to be a further step down, but God’s plan was operating, God purposes were at work and the next step was to the position of the top administrator in the greatest world power of the day. Even that was just a part of God’s purposes for the care of his people.
The verb strengthen reminds us of God’s continuing care. He will provide the resources needed to walk the path he has given to us. At times this is physical strength. As Jesus reminded us in the model prayer in Matthew 6, our daily sustenance is from his gracious hand. It is helpful for us to regularly remind our selves that our food, our sleep, all the things that provide physical strength come from God’s hand. We do well to thank him for this. We must also see that our inner man is strengthened by God. He feeds us with his Word in order for us to be strong in the circumstance of life. Even the trials we face today are exercises that strengthen us so that we can face tomorrow with even greater vigor.
The final verb in this chain is establish. This points to God’s purpose in our lives. He has an intentional goal for us. The picture that is here is one of a building upon a solid foundation that will withstand the storms of life. As we face the difficult providences remember that they are designed to help us obtain that deep, firm, solid foundation that will enable us to face the future with the confidence of God’s omnipotent hand upholding us.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Meditation on 1 Peter 5.10-11 [Part 2]

‘… The God of all grace,
who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.’
1 Peter 5.10-11 ESV

Today let us look at the phrase: ‘who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ…’
In the circumstances of our lives, even in the hard providences, we may rest assured that God has put these in place for his sovereign purposes. This is a truth that we need to build into our lives regularly, especially when situations are gentle. One of the foundational truths to the Christian life is that God has called us into it, and that this calling is aimed at the glory of Christ. 
Paul expressed it this way in Romans 8.28-30:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. [ESV]
Notice the progression here. God has a purpose in his work in believers’ lives. That purpose is to conform them to the image of his Son, and then ultimately, to glorify them just as the Son has been glorified. That provides great assurance for each of us as we consider the ultimate end of God’s purposes for us. This also gives us great confidence in God’s goodness in our current circumstances. One of the questions that we ought to be asking is, ‘how is this situation being used by God to make me more like his Son?’
While Peter does not list the individual links to this chain the way Paul does, his outlook is very similar. Remember that this letter is an encouragement to those that are facing persecution. Peter is reminding them that even the persecution that they are facing is part of the process by which God is calling them to eternal glory.
As we encounter the messiness and the troubles of life, be assured that these things are not just happenstance; they are not just chance operating in this life. No, the good, the difficult, even the devastating events of life are all from the hand of God and are part of his calling us to the glory of his dear Son. Remember that he doesn’t give us trials beyond what we can handle without also providing the way to deal with them. We may trust his purposes, and cling to his love.
Lay hold on these truths, believe these truths, rest on these truths. They provide the ultimate in security and comfort.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Meditation on 1 Peter 5.10-11 [Part 1]

‘… The God of all grace,
who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5.10-11 ESV

It is helpful for us to remember the context of this passage in meditating on it. In this first letter Peter is encouraging and strengthening believers who are going through very difficult circumstances. In chapter five as he is wrapping up his letter, he reminds them that there is an adversary, the devil, actively opposing their lives. One of the foundational truths that he wants believers to remember is that this adversary is defeated, that he is not an all powerful being who cannot be opposed. He also wants the believers to remember that though the adversary is defeated, he still possesses power for a time. He encourages them [and us] to resist him, not in our own strength, but by ‘casting all our anxieties’ on God. Trust God to give the victory.

Then Peter expresses this great truth that will bear the weight of all our hope and desire. 'The God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.' There is suffering in this present age, but we must trust that the Creator God is sovereign over even these sufferings and he will use even these means to work his good purposes in our lives.
Today I want to meditate on the phrase: ‘The God of all grace…’

Grace is favor that is undeserved. We realize that we are completely undeserving of God’s favor. That Salvation, indeed life itself is an undeserved gift from God. When we are reminded of the ultimate holiness and glory of God we can only respond with humility and gratitude for the grace we have received. We remember that ‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…’ [James 1.17 ESV]

It is the God of this grace who is our God. It is this God, whose favor is unmatched, who is equipping us for the resistance to Satan. It is this God, the giver of gracious, unmatched gifts, who is strengthening and establishing us in this life so that we are prepared for life with him forever. This is the God that Peter is relying on. This is the God that we should rely on, trusting him for his favor for all eternity.

When the circumstances of life are pressing in on you, when it seems as if the enemy has made you his particular target, remember that God has empowered us to resist him. Remember that He has given us the grace that strengthens and upholds us.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break

In blessings on your head.
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