“Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:14, NKJV)
Peter has just reminded us that we are aliens and pilgrims in this world that is not our home. In our sojourning through it we face an adversary. We are called to resist him, standing firm in the faith, confident of the hope that is ours in Christ.
Now in his concluding words, Peter again urges us to stand. In verse nine the apostle bid us to stand against and here in verse twelve beckons us to stand firm. He points us to the true grace of God bound up in the apostolic word. We must stay rooted in that word, staying put against the enticements of the evil one.
Standing firm involves standing against while we find ourselves in Babylon (5:13), a reference to the fallen kingdom of this world. Peter reminds us that the church is positioned in the world for the sake of the Kingdom, stationed in hostile territory.
Peter describes his epistle as both an exhortation and a testimony. By it God encourages us in our faith and exhorts us to rest in the faith. We are not to allow ourselves to be led astray by empty promises, false hopes, and temporary fixes of the world (cf. Col. 2:6-8). God has given us His Word, of which this epistle is but a brief portion, to gird and to guide us.
We are to hold true and hold truth. We do so not alone but with brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we share a common faith and hold a common creed. Peter names names as he wraps up. He speaks of Silvanus, whom he identifies as a spiritual brother, and Mark, whom he calls a spiritual son. We can also name names of those we walk alongside in the trenches of life and ministry.
In Christ, we who believe are part of a family, a family that shares a common hope. We experience and express a common love. Grace and peace are multiplied to us in our union with Christ and one another. And so we greet one another with a kiss of love in recognition of that bond and of all the blessings that are ours together in Jesus.
REFLECTION: God has given us His Word and Spirit and one another for the journey.
Unless noted otherwise, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.