Called to His Glory- 1 Peter 5:1-10

In this passage, Peter writes to encourage believers to persevere in the midst of the difficulties of life, for they will share in the glory of Christ for all eternity. He begins by speaking to the leaders of the church, to the elders, and he does so as a fellow elder and a “witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who will also share in the glory to be revealed”. We must begin here by understanding what “sufferings” Peter refers to here. The Greek word suffering here is pathema, and we will learn in subsequent verses that believers share in these sufferings. The Greek term pathema refers primarily to the “passions or emotions”. This is why the week of Easter is often referred to as the “passion” of Christ, the week in which He went to the cross. In verse one, Peter refers to himself as a “witness” of Christ’s sufferings. The term witness here is a Greek term referring to one who “shares in” something with another. Peter “shared in” the passion of Jesus, shared in His cross. So what does Peter mean by this? Obviously this is not a reference to Jesus’ suffering on the cross at Calvary, for Peter did not share in that, at least not yet (for church tradition holds that Peter eventually was nailed to a cross also, and Peter here refers to this witness as already having taken place). The “sharing in” which Peter refers to is Gethsemane, the cross he shares in not a literal one, but a metaphorical one. The cross Peter shares in here is the cross of “not my will but thy will be done”, and all who embrace this cross, who share in this cross, will also share in the “glory to be revealed”. Peter first lets them know that in the Kingdom of God, the cross precedes the crown, and that those who choose “not my will but thy will be done” will one day be rewarded for that choice, but that day is in the future, and Peter writes to those who have made this choice to encourage them to continue on in the present. As Peter saw clearly in Jesus and also experienced in his own life, all who choose to live according to the will of God will undergo much difficulty and opposition in a fallen world, a world in which the devil is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), a world in which those who choose to do the will of God will be opposed, oppressed, mocked and reviled. This is the suffering which Peter primarily has in mind in this passage, for not all believers will be fed to lions or hung on crosses, but “all who choose to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). What Peter wants these church leaders to know is that the choice to do the will of God will always “pay off” in the end, that the crown is worth the cross, that undergoing temporal difficulty for eternal glory is always worth it. Peter wants the leaders to get this first, for they are to serve as examples for the rest of the believers. Leaders in the church are not to lead by fiat but by example. They are not called to control, threaten or intimidate those under their care, but to model proper behavior for them, serving as examples, as living epistles to them, choosing to live according to God’s word and will in a fallen world, and by their actions encouraging others to do so as well (verse 2-3). Peter does not sugar coat the realities of life here, he makes it very plain that those who choose to live life according to the will of God and rooted in the principles of Scripture will encounter much difficulty and opposition while living in a fallen world, but he encourages believers in the midst of that difficulty and opposition, reminding them that “when the chief shepherd appears” they will “receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (verse 4). We end then with the question of, just what is this “crown of glory”? We begin with the observation that this is a crown, and a crown always represents rulership and authority, and we know that the saints will “reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:5). We share in His glory then, by sharing in His eternal rulership, our crowns “laid at His feet” (Revelation 4:10) (our authority fully submitted to His), no longer living amidst opposition and difficulty in a fallen world, but sharing in His authority over a redeemed world, sharing in “His eternal glory” (1 Peter 5:10). Peter here reminds the believers that the choice to live according to God’s ways is always worth it, that it will always pay off in the end. He does so to encourage them to keep choosing to live God’s way in the midst of a world which is fallen and under the influence of the devil, resisting any opposition and pressure to conform to the world’s ways and continuing on in steadfast obedience to the will of God.

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