Summary: In a closing litany of exhortations the apostle leads his readers to consider essential Christian attitudes of: 1) submission, 2) humility, 3) trust, 4) self-control, 5) vigilance, 6) fortitude, 7) hope, 8) worship, 9) faithfulness, & 10)Love
Ralph Waldo Emerson said: ‘A man is what he thinks about all day long.’ How could he possibly be anything else?”
Why? An old maxim states: “Thoughts produce acts, acts produce habits, and habits produce character.” The Roman philosopher Marcus Aurelius said, “Our life is what our thoughts make it.” Or as one translation of Prov.23:7 puts it, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7).
Morgan, Robert J.: Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, and Quotes. electronic ed. Nashville : Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, S. 558
NASB New American Standard Bible
How you regard what we have looked at thus far, will determine if you are ready or not for ministry. Spectators, what is the hallmark of our age, crave entertainment. They see things for general entertainment or personal enjoyment. Those going into battle, look for equipment for war and prepare for hostility. Which are you?
The Apostle Peter in his letter to the Church in 1 Peter, was trying to equip the saints of God for battle. Over the course of this year we have examined hope, faith, the work of Christ, love, submission, shepherding and suffering. This has been aimed at equipping you to stand firm in the true grace of God. With this, the concluding message of this series, I aim to use Peter’s closing comments to wrap together what we have seen so we may put it into practice.
In the final section of this letter, Peter addresses the godly attitudes so necessary to produce a spiritual mind. In a closing litany of exhortations and some final words, the apostle leads his readers to consider essential Christian attitudes of: 1) submission, 2) humility, 3) trust, 4) self-control, 5) vigilance, 6) fortitude, 7) hope, 8) worship, 9) faithfulness, and 10) love.
1Peter 5:5a Likewise, you who are younger/younger men, be subject to the elders.
As he did earlier in the letter (3:1, 7), Peter uses homoiôs (likewise) as a transition word. In the prior verses, the NASB renders the word “in the same way.”. In 5:1–4 Peter addressed church leaders; now he turned to the congregation. As shepherds submit to the Chief Shepherd, so the flock submits to their shepherds.
The foundational attitude in the life of the saint must be submission, a relatively familiar theme already in this epistle. In 2:13–20 and 3:1–7 Peter commanded believers to be submissive to employers, civil authorities, and within marriage.
Although no one is exempt from Peter’s exhortation that everyone is to be submissive to their elders, he targets specifically those who are younger/younger men. Though it is not stated in the context why he singled them out, probably he did so because it is so obvious that they generally tend to be the most aggressive and headstrong members of any group. (cf. Ps. 119:100; Prov. 16:31; 20:29). The call for godly submission is usually of greatest challenge for young men.
Tell me if this quote sounds familiar:
“When I was a boy, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly impatient of restraint. They have execrable manners, flout authority and have no respect for their elders”.
Lest you think it’s from this weekends newspaper, it’s from a Greek poet named Hesiod, who wrote 800 years before Christ was born.
Living for Christ in a Pagan World. Michael Bentley. Evangelical Press. 1990. p. 165.
In calling the young to be subject to those over them in the Lord, Peter again used the military term hupotassô, “to line up under.” He calls everyone in the church to put aside self-promoting pride and willingly and respectfully place themselves under the leadership of their shepherds (cf. 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:7). Clearly, given the previous context (vv. 1–4), elders refers to the spiritual leaders, the shepherds and pastors, not merely to older saints. The entire church has the obligation to submit to those God has placed in authority over it:
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. (ESV)
As seen in the broader context, Christians are to be submissive to all in authority, but especially in the church. The process of spiritual growth flourishes among those who have an attitude of submission. An unsubmissive flock, on the other hand, makes the shepherds’ ministry difficult and forfeits a critical feature in sanctification.
If one has godly submission, it is rooted in:
1 Peter 5:5-6 (Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders.) Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, (ESV)