DAILY DEVOTION - JUNE 9
Listen to excerpts from today's daily devotion on this video.
This Daily Devotion is from A Living Hope, by Sarah Viggiano Wright, published by Bible Study Media, and made available to us through Presbyterian Women.
“By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.”
1 Peter 5:12–14
We have come to the end of Peter’s letter. It has been emotional, uplifting, challenging, and provoking.
Peter has named the deep pain and ache of trying to live a good life in a difficult place, particularly when you don’t belong and are even being punished for doing good. He has kindly and lovingly encouraged all suffering servants to remember that they are immensely loved and have an awe-inspiring purpose in this world—to bring glory and honor to God. And, Peter has consistently offered hope that not only is God with them through thick and thin, but that, in Jesus, they will inherit blessings and glories forevermore!
This letter is a beautiful message. But unless it is also true, it is merely inspirational fiction, well-written prose, and motivational platitudes to do and be better. If Peter’s letter is not true, we may experience some good feelings reading it, but we would be no more secure or established than before we’d picked it up. Ultimately, it would be forgettable.
However, if this letter does in fact contain universal truth about who we are and what we are to do, then it is timeless and of critical necessity to our everyday lives! It is not a relative, individual truth, but part of the very fabric and foundation of the entire cosmos, as dictated by the Perfect Truth-Teller, the Author of Life, and the King of Glory. It is beyond negotiation and it is without holes. It is truth.
So how do we know that what Peter writes is true? Peter tells us in verse 12 that he himself has evidence that Jesus is the long-expected Messiah! He heard the lessons Jesus taught first-hand. He saw the healings first-hand. He witnessed the miracles—he saw raging waters stilled, a peasant boy’s lunch abundantly feed thousands, and lifeless bodies wake up from the dead. And, even though he denied his Savior, Peter beheld the power of Christ’s resurrection and experienced the personal restoration that can only happen when the Almighty Savior rescues you. What a witness!
So, as his letter comes to a close, Peter affirms that this Good News, this reason for a living hope is all true. The word “declared” or “testified” is a more adamant form of the word “witness” (matureō). Here, epimatureōmeans “to supply evidence” or “to confirm by evidence.” It’s the word that was used in binding legal transactions. If the testimony was found to be untrue, severe consequences would ensue. Peter is corroborating the facts—his account “confirming by evidence” the mighty works of Jesus Christ—that this grace of God in the Messiah is true.
In the words of abolitionist, activist, and heroine Sojourner Truth, “Truth is powerful and it prevails.” There is a power and a permanence in all truth, but especially in the Gospel Truth. It establishes us. It holds us. It is a firm and sure foundation. It stands on the powerful and mighty Rock of Matthew 16:18, who is the Cornerstone of the temple of God. Jesus is the true measure of God’s grace to us.
So Peter’s instruction is “Stand firm in it!” Allow Jesus to establish you even as you suffer or seemingly succumb to earthly afflictions. Take comfort in Jesus’ resurrection power being able to restore you from the most heinous experiences. Know that he will strengthen you even as you give yourself to others out of reverence for God. Be confident that you who feel unseen, unknown, and insignificant will be confirmed by Christ, counted with his flock, and named in his inheritance. Despite all suffering, you are born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
This life of grace may not be easy, comfortable, or even safe, but it is good, and, truly, it is the only place you can and must stand (imperative). Rootedness in Christ also yields an uncommon love and appreciation of the family of God, which Peter demonstrates by those he mentions. First is Silvanus, the one who probably penned the letter or delivered it by hand to the church (or both). Silvanus is a faithful brother, which is a true grace to the community of God. “She who is in Babylon” is likely a code for the Church in Rome. These persecuted Christians in Rome were sending their greetings to their family in Asia minor.
Then Peter says, “Greet one another with the kiss of love”—a warm gesture of affection usually reserved for blood family members. But here Peter extends it to the family of God, which also shows the outside world the closeness of the family of God. There is nothing romantic or erotic about the kiss; it was a sign of closeness—we belong to one another. Christians are to be known by our love (John 13:35; Romans 12:9–18, 21). Peter prays peace for them as they stand in the true grace of God.
And this is where we are standing—established firmly in the true grace of God until he returns. I’m reminded of the closing lyrics of Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken. It is a fitting closing for us, too, as we will soon transition from grace to glory, forever established in Jesus Christ, our Living Hope! Amen and Amen!
Haste then on from grace to glory, armed by faith, and winged by prayer. Heav’n’s eternal day’s before thee, God’s own hand shall guide us there. Soon shall close thy earthly mission, swift shall pass thy pilgrim days, Hope soon change to glad fruition, faith to sight, and prayer to praise.