The Story: Peter evidently dictated this letter to Silvanus, who doubtless applied some of his own style and skills to its composition. No matter; the Holy Spirit inspired the whole. The “true grace of God” is to endure hardship for Jesus, to submit in love to one another, use our gifts in ministry, and to live in the hope of glory before the watching world. This is not an option. Every believer is called to “stand firm” in this Gospel. The Church is one Body throughout the world, so it makes sense that those in Babylon (probably really Rome) and others should want to be remembered to the suffering believers in Asia Minor. The kiss of love provided a tangible reminder of the grace of the Lord and of His presence in the Body by His Spirit. Notice that Peter ends his epistle with grace and peace, rounding back to where he began in chapter 1. The Gospel, in spite of trials, suffering, hardship, uncertainty, and various other difficulties, is all about grace and peace. They who learn to live this way, no matter their circumstances, declare to the watching world that they are citizens of another realm, a realm of eternal hope and glory.
The Structure: It’s hard work to maintain the unity of the Body of Christ in the bonds of peace (Eph. 4.3), but Christians must strive to do so, beginning in their own churches, reaching out to other churches in the community, and joining together to extend the grace and peace of the Gospel to the Body of Christ around the world. When the world begins to see such oneness, it will believe that the Father has sent Jesus, full of grace and peace, for the salvation of lost men (Jn. 17.21).
In what ways does your church reach out to other churches with the grace and peace of Jesus?
Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Living the Glory: 1 Peter 5,” simply click here.
T. M. Moore
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.