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

XVII. Benediction   5:11-14

A. Glory

“To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Pet. 5:11)

1. The Person—”Him”

Looking to the context in verse 10, we see that the glory is to go to the God of all grace, and He has called us into His eternal glory. The word “glory” is translated as “praises,” “honor,” “dignity,” and “worship.”

2. The Principle—Glory and Dominion

Israel’s prophet Jeremiah gave good advice when he wrote: “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23, 24)

A well-known catechism asks, “What is the chief purpose of man?” It answerers: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

But in addition to recognizing the need to give glory to God, we need to realize His dominion. Peter uses the word that means “authority” or “ruling authority.” It is the word used in such English words as autocrat, plutocrat, and democrat. It speaks of the eternal sovereignty of God. Dr. Lehman Strauss often defined the sovereignty of God as the truth that “God does what He chooses to do, when He chooses to do it, for the purpose for which He chooses to do it, and He’s always right.” If this were not true, He would not be God.

B. Grace

“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.” (1 Pet. 5:12)

There is no reason to assume that the Silvanus to whom Peter is referring is any other than the Silvanus (also known as Silas) who labored with Paul and is mentioned by him numerous times in his epistles. This in no way changes our thesis that Peter is not writing to the church which is the body of Christ. During the transitional period Paul and the twelve apostles ministered to the same congregations, although the twelve remained for the most part in Jerusalem. Paul also worked with Mark, possibly the Marcus of 1 Peter 5:13 and asked for him in his last letter, 2 Timothy.

The primary thing we need to notice here is the progressive revelation shown by comparing Peter’s sermons in early Acts with the emphasis which he placed on grace here. The word “grace” is not found in his early Acts sermons. It is noteworthy that in his final epistle, he speaks of things which are hard to be understood which “Brother Paul” has written in all his epistles, and then urges his readers to “Grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

C. Greetings

“The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son. Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (1 Pet. 5:13-14)

The word “church” is not in the original. Rather it says “She who is at Babylon.” As a result, some scholars interpret this to mean a well known woman who was a believer. From this assumption, many have taken another step and assumed that it refers to Peter’s wife. All this is sheer speculation. Others have taught that it does indeed refer to a church, since the Greek word for church (ekklesia) is feminine gender, Peter just uses the pronoun “she.”

Traditional teaching is that “Babylon” does not refer to literal Babylon, but to Rome. This is based on the assumption that the Babylon of the Book of Revelation will be a revived Roman Empire.

I tend to disagree with this position and agree with Calvin and Erasmus that this refers to literal Babylon, which was still a well-known city in Peter’s day. It had a significant Jewish population (only a relative few had returned after the Captivity), and there were some Christians living there.

The injunction to “Greet one another with a kiss of charity” would be the equivalent of saying “Greet one another with a loving handshake” in our contemporary culture.

(To Be Continued)