A Dispensational Approach
By R. B. Shiflet
XV. The Rebuke of Pride 5:5-7
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:5-7)
A. An Appeal
1. To Young People
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.”
Younger people are urged to submit to, or be in subjection to, older people. There is a good reason for this appeal. Older people have experienced more of life’s testing, they have had opportunities to mature and to learn from their mistakes. The verb tense indicates a once-for-all attitude of submission for younger people. This comes from proper home training. How refreshing to find young people who are respectful and kind to the elderly. On a personal note, I have been amazed at the number of younger men and women who are anxious to help me when they see me on a walker, trying to get up a step, or to get a door open. Young people today have often been criticized and accused of being disrespectful, and undoubtedly some are, but I find the majority in our area to be polite and eager to help.
2. To All People
“Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility.”
Peter now addresses all his readers and reminds them of the importance of showing a submissive spirit in our duties as believers. The word he used for “be clothed” literally means to put on a garment, and the garment he mentions is “humility.” The verb “be clothed” was used of putting on a slave’s apron. Dr. William Barclay suggests that Peter may have had in mind our Lord’s example when he girded Himself with a towel and began the most menial of tasks—washing the disciples’ feet.
But the word is also used of a robe of honor. Dr. Barclay reminds us of our Lord’s words in Mark 10:43,44: “But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.”
B. An Affirmation
“For God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
Here we have another reminder that by interpretation this letter was written to the believing Jews of the Dispersion. Peter quotes Proverbs 3:34: “Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.”
Someone has well said that pride calls out the armies of Heaven against the proud one. Pride was the original sin, both among spirit beings (Lucifer) and human beings (Adam and Eve).
It behooves us to remind ourselves constantly of the truth of the words of Dr. James M. Gray:
“Naught have I gotten but what I received;
Grace hath bestowed it since I have believed.
Boasting excluded, pride I abase,
I’m only a sinner saved by grace.”
C. Attitudes that Lead to Action
1. Attitude of Submission
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”
This attitude of submission leads the believer to humble himself because of his realization that God is in control. Here we have another Old Testament phrase: “the mighty hand of God.” It was used of God’s sovereignty in bringing His people out of Egyptian bondage.
This attitude helps believers through difficult times because we not only know that God is in control, we also know that He is working all things together for good to them that love Him, to them that are the called according to His purpose. We have the reassurance that God gave Paul in connection with his thorn in the flesh: “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
2. Attitude of Serenity
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
Peter is still quoting the Hebrew Bible. Psalm 55:22 reads: ” Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
Song writers have made these words real and precious to us through such gospel songs as “Leave it There” by the black pastor and “All Your Anxiety” by Edward Henry Joy with its chorus;
“All your anxiety, all your care,
Bring to the mercy seat—leave it there.
Never a burden He cannot bear;
Never a friend like Jesus.”
(Copyright by Salvationist Publishing and Supplies, Ltd., London).
(To Be Continued)