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5. To Elders and Young Men
1The elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint, but willingly, according to the will of God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd shall be manifested, ye shall receive the crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5Likewise, ye younger, be subject unto the elder. Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another: for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. 6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; 7casting all your anxiety upon him, because he careth for you. 8Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, 9whom withstand stedfast in your faith, knowing that the same sufferings are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world. 10And the God of all grace, who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ, after that ye have suffered a little while, shall himself perfect, establish, strengthen you. 11To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 12By Silvanus, our faithful brother, as I account him, I have written unto you briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand ye fast therein. 13She that is in Babylon, elect together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Mark my son. 14Salute one another with a kiss of love. Peace be unto you all that are in Christ.
The Apostle's Prayer. (a. d. 66.)
10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. 13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son. 14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.
We come now to the conclusion of this epistle, which,
I. The apostle begins with a most weighty prayer, which he addresses to God as the God of all grace, the author and finisher of every heavenly gift and quality, acknowledging, on their behalf, that God had already called them to be partakers of that eternal glory, which, being his own, he had promised and settled upon them, through the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ. Observe,
1. What he prays for on their account; not that they might be excused from sufferings, but that their sufferings might be moderate and short, and, after they had suffered awhile, that God would restore them to a settled and peaceable condition, and perfect his work in them—that he would establish them against wavering, either in faith or duty, that he would strengthen those who were weak, and settle them upon Christ the foundation, so firmly that their union with him might be indissoluble and everlasting. Learn, (1.) All grace is from God; it is he who restrains, converts, comforts, and saves men by his grace. (2.) All who are called into a state of grace are called to partake of eternal glory and happiness. (3.) Those who are called to be heirs of eternal life through Jesus Christ must, nevertheless, suffer in this world, but their sufferings will be but for a little while. (4.) The perfecting, establishing, strengthening, and settling, of good people in grace, and their perseverance therein, is so difficult a work, that only the God of all grace can accomplish it; and therefore he is earnestly to be sought unto by continual prayer, and dependence upon his promises.
2. His doxology, v. 11. From this doxology we may learn that those who have obtained grace from the God of all grace should and will ascribe glory, dominion, and power, to him for ever and ever.
II. He recapitulates the design of his writing this epistle to them (v. 12), which was, 1. To testify, and in the strongest terms to assure them, that the doctrine of salvation, which he had explained and they had embraced, was the true account of the grace of God, foretold by the prophets and published by Jesus Christ. 2. To exhort them earnestly that, as they had embraced the gospel, they would continue stedfast in it, notwithstanding the arts of seducers, or the persecutions of enemies. (1.) The main thing that ministers ought to aim at in their labours is to convince their people of the certainty and excellency of the Christian religion; this the apostles did exhort and testify with all their might. (2.) A firm persuasion that we are in the true way to heaven will be the best motive to stand fast, and persevere therein.
III. He recommends Silvanus, the person by whom he sent them this brief epistle, as a brother whom he esteemed faithful and friendly to them, and hoped they would account him so, though he was a ministers of the uncircumcision. Observe, An honourable esteem of the ministers of religion tends much to the success of their labours. When we are convinced they are faithful, we shall profit more by their ministerial services. The prejudices that some of these Jews might have against Silvanus, as a minister of the Gentiles, would soon wear off when they were once convinced that he was a faithful brother.
IV. He closes with salutations and a solemn benediction. Observe, 1. Peter, being at Babylon in Assyria, when he wrote this epistle (whither he travelled, as the apostle of the circumcision, to visit that church, which was the chief of the dispersion), sends the salutation of that church to the other churches to whom he wrote (v. 13), telling them that God had elected or chosen the Christians at Babylon out of the world, to be his church, and to partake of eternal salvation through Christ Jesus, together with them and all other faithful Christians, ch. i. 2. In this salutation he particularly joins Mark the evangelist, who was then with him, and who was his son in a spiritual sense, being begotten by him to Christianity. Observe, All the churches of Jesus Christ ought to have a most affectionate concern one for another; they should love and pray for one another, and be as helpful one to another as they possibly can. 2. He exhorts them to fervent love and charity one towards another, and to express this by giving the kiss of peace (v. 14), according to the common custom of those times and countries, and so concludes with a benediction, which he confines to those that are in Christ Jesus, united to him by faith and sound members of his mystical body. The blessing he pronounces upon them is peace, by which he means all necessary good, all manner of prosperity; to this he adds his amen, in token of his earnest desire and undoubted expectation that the blessing of peace would be the portion of all the faithful.