1 Peter 5:10-14
Stand Firm in the Grace of God
The Apostle closes his letter exhorting his readers to “stand firm in the faith.” But this is not some empty cheer Peter gives them; indeed, our Lord will do four things for them so that they may stand: Restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish. To restore means to protect or re-establish their character. It is true that Christians sometimes fail in the midst of persecution. We cannot be harsh with them. Peter knew this firsthand. Second, our Lord will “confirm” his people. This means that we are secure in the Lord—no one can snatch us out of His hands (John 10:29), regardless of the power of our enemies. Third, to strengthen is to support. We are never alone when we are with the Lord, and he will strengthen us when we are weak (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Finally, the Lord will establish us, that is, to settle, found, or place a foundation for. He upholds us now and for eternity. We have a strong city and an even stronger God (NICNT, 195-6). To him be the glory forever because he is the one who preserves us to the end—even in the midst of fiery trial.
And now for the final greetings. Silvanus is Silas and is often found in the Book of Acts with the Apostle Paul. He either wrote the letter as Peter’s secretary or carried it or both. His worth to the apostolic band was immeasurable proving once again that there were and always are plenty of “minor players” in the Kingdom of God. Our duty is faithfulness to the task given without complaint, not to choose our task. Peter then interrupts his final greetings declaring one last time that what he has written is “the true grace of God.” Many ask what means “this.” Though several answers are given, I believe the man was simply referring to the totality of his letter, or perhaps what he here encourages them to do at the end of his letter which is to stand firm in the grace of God in the midst of both good times and bad. Peter thus places constancy as a cardinal mark of the Christian life.
Peter refers to the city and church from which he writes as “she who is at Babylon,” New Testament speak for “Rome.” Babylon represents everything evil in the Bible—the city of man under the dominion of Satan. Nothing could better describe ancient Rome, especially under Emperor Nero if that is when this letter was written and by whom Peter (and Paul) was martyred. But though this local church abides in Rome, she is still likewise chosen; our location cancels not our election. Peter also mentions Mark, his “son,” who wrote the gospel, which is actually Peter’s gospel. And the fruit of our salvation is ever peace. Thanks be to God.