1 Peter 5:8-11
8. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour:
8. Sobrii estote, vigilate, quia adversarius vester diabolus, tanquam leo rugiens, circuit, quaerens quem devoret (vel, quempiam devorare;)
9. Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
9. Cui resistite firmi fide, scientes easdem passiones, vestrae quae in mundo fraternitati adimpleri.
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:
10. Deus autera omnis gratiae, qui nos vocavit in aeternam suam gloriam per Christum Jesum, paulisper afflictos ipse vos perficiat, confirmet, corroboret, stabiliat:
11. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
11. Ei gloria et imperium in secula seculorum. Amen.
8. Be sober. This explanation extends wider, that as we have war with a most fierce and most powerful enemy, we are to be strenuous in resisting him. But he uses a twofold metaphor, that they were to be sober, and that they were to exercise watchfulness. Surfeiting produces sloth and sleep; even so they who indulge in earthly cares and pleasures, think of nothing else, being under the power of spiritual lethargy.
We now perceive what the meaning of the Apostle is. We must, he says, carry on a warfare in this world; and he reminds us that we have to do with no common enemy, but one who, like a lion, runs here and there, ready to devour. He hence concludes that we ought carefully to watch. Paul stimulates us with the same argument in the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, where he says that we have a contest not with flesh and blood, but with spiritual wickedness, etc. But we too often turn peace into sloth, and hence it comes that the enemy then circumvents and overwhelms us; for, as though placed beyond the reach of danger, we indulge ourselves according to the will of the flesh.
He compares the devil to a lion, as though he had said, that he is a savage wild beast. He says that he goes round to devour, in order to rouse us to wariness. He calls him the adversary of the godly, that they might know that they worship God and profess faith in Christ on this condition, that they are to have continual war with the devil, for he does not spare the members who fights with the head.
9. Whom resist. As the power of an enemy ought to stimulate us and make us more careful, so there would be danger lest our hearts failed through immoderate fear, except the hope of victory were given us. This then is what the Apostle speaks of; he shows that the issue of the war will be prosperous, if we indeed fight under the banner of Christ; for whosoever comes to this contest, endued with faith, he declares that he will certainly be a conqueror.
Resist, he says; but some one may ask, how? To this he answers, there is sufficient strength in faith. Paul, in the passage which I have already quoted, enumerates the various parts of our armor, but the meaning is the same, (Ephesians 6:13,) for John testifies that faith alone is our victory over the world.
Knowing that the same afflictions, or sufferings. It is another consolation, that we have a contest in common with all the children of God; for Satan dangerously tries us, when he separates us from the body of Christ. We have heard how he attempted to storm the courage of Job,
"Look to the saints, has any one of them suffered such a thing ?"
-- Job 5:1.
The Apostle on the other hand, reminds us here that nothing happens to us but what we see does happen to other members of the Church. Moreover a fellowship, or a similar condition, with all the saints, ought by no means to be refused by us.
By saying that the same sufferings are accomplished, he means what Paul declares in Colossians 1:24, that what remains of the sufferings of Christ is daily fulfilled in the faithful.
The words, that are in the world, may be explained in two ways, either that God proves his faithful people indiscriminately everywhere in the world, or that the necessity of fighting awaits us as long as we are in the world. But we must observe that having said before that we are assailed by Satan, he then immediately refers to every kind of afflictions. We hence gather that we have always to do with our spiritual enemy, however adversities may come, or whatever they may be, whether diseases oppress us, or the barrenness of the land threatens us with famine, or men persecute us.
10. But the God of all grace. After having sufficiently dwelt on admonitions, he now turns to prayer; for doctrine is in vain poured forth into the air, unless God works by his Spirit. And this example ought to be followed by all the ministers of God, that is, to pray that he may give success to their labors; for otherwise they effect nothing either by planting or by watering.
Some copies have the future tense, as though a promise is made; but the other reading is more commonly received. At the same time, the Apostle, by praying God, confirms those to whom he was writing, for when he calls God the author of all grace, and reminds them that they were called to eternal glory, his purpose no doubt was, to confirm them in the conviction, that the work of their salvation, which he had begun, would be completed.
He is called the God of all grace from the effect, from the gifts he bestows, according to the Hebrew manner. 1 And he mentions expressly all grace, first that they might learn that every blessing is to be ascribed to God; and secondly, that one grace is connected with another, so that they might hope in future for the addition of those graces in which they were hitherto wanting.
Who hath called us. This, as I have said, serves to increase confidence, because God is led not only by his goodness, but also by his gracious benevolence, to aid us more and more. He does not simply mention calling, but he shews wherefore they were called, even that they might obtain eternal glory. He further fixes the foundation of calling in Christ. Both these things serve to give perpetual confidence, for if our calling is founded on Christ, and refers to the celestial kingdom of God and a blessed immortality, it follows that it is not transient nor fading.
It may also be right, by the way, to observe that when he says that we are called in Christ, first, our calling is established, because it is rightly founded; and secondly, that all respect to our worthiness and merit is excluded; for that God, by the preaching of the gospel, invites us to himself, it is altogether gratuitous; and it is still a greater grace that he efficaciously touches our hearts so as to lead us to obey his voice. Now Peter especially addresses the faithful; he therefore connects the efficacious power of the Spirit with the outward doctrine.
As to the three words which follow, some copies have them in the ablative case, which may be rendered in Latin by gerunds (fulciendo, roborando, stabiliendo) by supporting, by strengthening, by establishing. 2 But in this there is not much importance with regard to the meaning. Besides, Peter intends the same thing by all these words, even to confirm the faithful; and he uses these several words for this purpose, that we may know that to follow our course is a matter of no common difficulty, and that therefore we need the special grace of God. The words suffered a while, inserted here, shew that the time of suffering is but short, and this is no small consolation.
11. To him be glory. That he might add more confidence to the godly, he breaks out into thanksgiving. Though this be read in the indicative as well as in the optative mood, still the meaning is nearly the same.
Divested of this peculiarity, the words would run thus: "may he establish, strengthen, confirm, perfect you;" that is, to give the words more literally, "may he put you on a solid foundation, render you strong, render you firm, make you perfect." -- Ed.