A Dispensational Approach

I Peter

XVI. A Reminder of Peril   5:8-14

A. Vigilance   5:8

B. Victimazation   5:9

C. Vindication   5:10

1. The Person   5:10a

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, …” He is the God of all Comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3). He is the God of Peace (Philippians 4:9; Romans 15:33) He is the God of Hope (Romans 15:13). The battle is not ours, but the Lord’s. Martin Luther described Him well in his great old hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

2. The Prerequisite   5:10b

“After that ye have suffered a while, …” Just as high school, college and university courses often have prerequisites, that is, courses that must have been mastered before one can enroll in a new course, so the life of a believer requires suffering before strength and stability can take place.

3. The Promise   5:10c

“After that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” When we turn to the God of all grace in our suffering, He is able to use it to:

a. Restore Us   (KJV “make you perfect”)

The word used here is frequently used in Greek literature to refer to setting a bone, or mending that which is torn. Its first occurrence in our Bible is in Matthew 4:21, where our Lord found some of his future disciples “mending their nets.” It is used in Galatians 6:1 of restoring a brother who has been overtaken in a fault. It has been observed that suffering will either cause the faith of a weak brother to collapse, or it will strengthen him to become a stronger believer who is able to help others who are going through trials.

Sir Edward Elgar once heard a young girl singing a solo from one of his compositions. She sang it beautifully and the audience was deeply impressed. Sir Elgar softly remarked to a friend, “When she has suffered heartbreak she will be perfect.” This verse should help us remember that when God allows suffering and sorrow to come into the lives of His children it is to restore them to more useful lives.

b. Establish Us

The word translated “stablish” in the KJV means to make as solid as granite. It is a trite but true statement that the same sun that melts the wax hardens the clay. We cannot help the trials and buffetings that come into our lives, but through the power of the God of all grace, we can help our reaction to them. A man called me to the hospital years ago to visit him. He was suffering from nosebleed and the doctor had packed his nostrils. He was in the midst of a pity party. Why, he wondered, do all these things happen to me? I went to another wing of the hospital to visit an elderly lady who was suffering from leukemia and who had a daughter who was battling terminal cancer. She was smiling and happy and said, “Why, Brother Shiflet, if I die tomorrow it’s all right. I’ve had a good life.” And she continued to count her blessings. Suffering had given her a bedrock foundation. The other person had his eyes on himself rather than the God who desires to use afflictions to establish us.

c. Strengthen Us

Having undergone hip surgery twice in an eight-month period, I was rather inactive for a time. This resulted in soft, flabby muscles. Through weeks of physical therapy and exercise, I have become much stronger. Afflictions that come into our lives can cause spiritual flabbiness, or if we exercise ourselves unto godliness, He will use the testing to strengthen us.

d. Settle Us

This word means to give us a solid foundation. Like the man in our Lord’s parable who built his house upon the rock, the believer who accepts suffering and distress as a part of God’s purpose will be settled. We usually do not know what the particular purpose is, but we trust a loving, kind Heavenly Father and know that He does all things well.

This verse does not guarantee that suffering will accomplish these things. Much depends upon how we accept the suffering. If we rebel, it is to our loss. If we can say with Fanny J. Crosby, “I know what e’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well,” we will find a precious promise in this verse.

(To Be Continued)