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God’s Word for You

1 Peter 5:10-11 The God of All Grace

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, May 27, 2022

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

The restoration of verse 10 is still in this lifetime; we cannot stand under suffering without being made strong, firm, and steadfast by our graceful God. The suffering of this lifetime lasts until we breathe our last breath, so that God, in his mercy, allows us to see the need for his grace by allowing suffering to last “a little while,” after which he sends his unconditional love and help. He shows us that he wants us in his kingdom through the call of the gospel. Notice that “called” is in the past tense (really the ‘aorist’ tense in Greek); in the epistles this always shows a successful gospel call: “The one who called you by the grace of Christ” (Galatians 1:6); “he saved us and called us to a holy life” (2 Timothy 1:9); “him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).

Peter is not just adding a flourish of words when he says “the God of all grace.” He isn’t decorating God’s portrait with a brass picture frame. He is explaining in clear, simple words that all grace comes from God, and that God, according to his very essence, is gracious. God hates sin, and it is a common mistake to try to say that God hates sin but loves sinners. It just isn’t so. God didn’t say “You will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you” to a bucket of sins as if he was judging so many rotten fish (Numbers 14:34). He said it to people, his very own people as they were getting ready to enter the Promised Land. They had fallen into the sins of doubt and rebellion, and he was prepared to kill them all. But God took all of the venom and wrath of his hatred for sinners, sinners like me, and dumped it all on his own Son, Jesus Christ. Heretics and fools to this day ask, “What kind of loving father would kill his own son?” They ask it to try to disprove the Scriptures that teach us about Jesus. They think that human reason and borrowed catch-phrases can catch God off-guard. By challenging whether God would kill his son, they show that they want to kill God and shut the cover on the Bible.

But that doesn’t change his essence, his nature, or his mercy. Even the most wretched and rebellious sinners are caught in the butterfly net of his grace, to be made his dear, darling children, rescued by Jesus. This isn’t because we deserve his grace and love. There is no worthiness in any of us that attracts God’s grace to us. But those who reject God, who make their opinions into so many little gods, they have broken the First Commandment and they have shown that they fully intend to break all the others and then make their own. They may as well have all those opinions of theirs bronzed and set up on a shelf in the living room so that all their guests can see their little temple to themselves. For them there is no salvation at all. God calls and calls, but they stuff their ears with their opinions. They have become deaf to his call. One day when they writhe in hell’s acid and the furious backdraft of the inferno that burns there, he will be deaf to their cries while the timbers of the burning house of their suffering collapse to pin their legs, break their bones, and burn their flesh, eyes, and hair, forever. This is the wrath they have for God today, and it will be turned onto them for all eternity. But we have nothing to fear from them. They can attack our reputations and even our bodies, but we have the words of Christ: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28). Christ’s blood was the dear payment made for our sins, and to carry us as far from hell as the east is from the west, as noon is from midnight, and as the dew-covered carpet of spring grass is from the charred wreckage of a burned-out ruin. Through Christ alone, we have true peace. And that’s no mere opinion.

11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (NIV)

For the second of three times (1 Peter 4:11, 5:11; and 2 Peter 3:18), Peter prays a blessing or doxology that gives glory to God. These passages are so similar to the closing words of the Lord’s Prayer that it’s hard not to wonder whether this is what Peter is quoting, or whether these doxologies from the Apostle are what got tacked on to the end of the Lord’s Prayer. But this doesn’t need to be something that we sweat about. It’s really the “Amen” that reminds us that this is the prayer of confidence. As James says, like a good coach: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:6). Don’t pray wondering whether God is listening. If you need to wonder while you pray, wonder why God is so gracious. Wonder why it took you so long to pray. Wonder with joy that God in his infinite mercy loves and preserves you as he does, and wonder with delight that God will never let go of you. Put your trust in him, and pray for everything you need. The one who has power for ever and ever is the one who listens, and he will answer you. Amen.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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