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Words of encouragement

Through Silvanus, a faithful brother (as I consider him), I have written to you briefly in order to encourage you and to testify that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it! She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings, as does Mark, my son. Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ. 1 Peter 5:12-14 CSB

In a few words, Peter states his intention for writing: “in order to encourage you and to testify that this is the true grace of God.” He confirms that God’s grace preached by the apostles and accepted in faith by the believers is genuine. He is telling the Christians that they can fully trust the message they have heard from the apostles. Now they can read it in this epistle. The sufferings they endure are severe; for this reason, they need all the encouragement they can have and the apostles in their writings have given them. In a summary statement, then, he testifies that God’s grace indeed is true. Because of God’s grace, Peter encourages the believers to “Stand firm in it.” This is a command, just as Paul wrote the church at Corinth: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). As the Christians face cruel oppression because of their faith, Peter exhorts them to stand firm. Peter then sends his greetings to them together with the church. New Testament writers often describe the church in female terms (see for example John 3:29; Ephesians 5:25–33; Revelation 19:7–8; 21:2–3; 22:17). Peter is able to sympathize with the believers for he himself has been through persecutions. He mentions persecution in nearly every chapter of his epistle. He died a martyr’s death near Rome. According to tradition, he was crucified upside down. Peter wrote this epistle near the end of his life. Then, Peter’s farewell greeting of peace encompasses the gospel of salvation, because Jesus himself conveys this message to all who believe in him. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful” (John 14:27). In Jesus Christ we have peace with God and with one another. Although Peter expresses this prayer as a wish, all Christians have this peace in fellowship with Christ. This peace, as Paul said, “which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).


Isaac De Guzman

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