And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:10–11 ESV)
I have been studying the book of 1 Peter in my personal devotions for several months now. As I near the end of this study, I came to this wonderful passage. Many of you are probably familiar with this text as we often use it as a benediction in our worship services. As is often the case with these benediction passages, they are bursting at the seams with theological truth, Gospel encouragements, and soaring praise. This benediction at the end of 1 Peter is no exception.
The book of 1 Peter was written to Christians who were suffering for their faith, but many of the truths in this book apply to all kinds of suffering we face as Christians, including our current trials. In 1 Peter 5:10-11 we are reminded that our current sufferings only last a little while. Peter is not diminishing or demeaning the very substantial and sustained tribulations that we face as Christians. He is simply making the point that even a lifelong trial is brief compared with the eternal glory that awaits the Lord’s people. In order to make this point, Peter highlights 3 things about God in these benedictory verses. These are the truths Peter wanted ringing in the ears of his original audience, so we would do well to take these truths to heart in our current trials.
1. The God of all grace
The weightiness of our trials can never tip the scales of God’s grace. We must not ever let sufferings cloud our vision of the undeserved favor that God has shown us. Trials are painful, but they cannot compare to the grace of God that we have experienced (and will experience) through faith in Jesus Christ.
2. The God who called you to glory
This gracious God has called us to eternal glory. In calling us to himself by the Holy Spirit, we experience forgiveness, cleansing, and divine empowerment for obedience. Just as sure as these past and present realities is that fact that God has called us to eternal glory in the future. As Christians, we have received a divine summons to appear in the presence of our Lord one day, and this summons will be fulfilled. As we suffer, may we never forget that we have been called to heavenly glory in Christ.
3. The God who sustains you
Peter uses 4 different verbs to make the same essential point: it is the Lord’s power that ultimately enables us to endure to the end. Throughout Peter’s letter, he calls Christians to remain faithful to the Lord in the midst of trials, but our spiritual strength to endure finds it source and foundation in the strength of the Lord. This is why we find a reflex of praise in verse 11 about the Lord’s eternal power and dominion.
As we face our current and future trials, may we always keep these truths about the Lord written on our hearts: the God of all grace has called us to glory and will complete his work in us by His power. Amen and amen!