Sermon Study - 1 Peter 5:12-14
“Stand Firm in God’s Grace” from 1 Peter 5:12-14. You can listen to the sermon here.
For students of the Bible, this paragraph contains a number of important and interesting points. We learn in verse 12 that Silvanus, who is also known as Silas in the New Testament, delivered Peter’s letter. Some scholars think that Silvanus helped Peter write the letter, maybe transcribing Peter’s dictation. But the form of the sentence in the original language most likely indicates that Silvanus delivered Peter’s letter.
We also learn from verse 13 that Peter wrote this letter from Rome. Look at verse 13: “She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings.” By the NT era, the word Babylon was used symbolically to represent worldly opposition to the purposes and people of God. The actual city of Babylon was in ruins during the New Testament era, but the Old Testament history of Babylon was enough to give the image its symbolic force. In Peter’s day, the place that most clearly represented this kind of opposition to God was the city of Rome, the seat of Caesar’s power and authority. So, when Peter sends greetings from Babylon, it most likely indicates that he writes from Rome.
We also learn that John Mark is a close companion of the apostle Peter. This is the same John Mark that accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. This is also the same John Mark whose family’s home was a meeting place for the early church in Jerusalem. The reason this reference to John Mark is important is that it confirms the church tradition that John Mark was close enough to Peter to write the Gospel of Mark based on Peter’s eyewitness testimony.
All of those points are interesting and important facts. They help us understand Peter’s context a bit more, and they provide some good internal confirmation as to the historical accuracy of the New Testament. But there is more to this closing paragraph than those facts. Look again at verse 12. Peter reminds his readers, “This is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.” When Peter says this is the true grace of God, he’s referring to the entire letter. Everything Peter has written in these five chapters declares and reveals God’s grace. This letter doesn’t contain Peter’s thoughts about the Christian life. It contains the true grace of God, which was revealed to Peter through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And since the letter expresses the true grace of God, these believers should stand firm in it. They should be rooted in that grace.
And here’s where we see the value of this final paragraph. These verses are not simply a few lines of formal greetings from one group to another. These verses are a call for believers to remember the truth of God’s grace and then to build their lives on that grace. It’s not just a formality; it’s an opportunity to remember and be rooted in the most important element of the Christian faith – the true grace of God revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For Further Study
Sunday’s sermon was a summary of God’s grace as it has been presented in 1 Peter. Take some time this week to read through 1 Peter again. As you read, write down all the evidences of God’s grace that you notice in the letter.
For Personal Reflection
Based on your own study of 1 Peter, spend some time in prayer, praising God for his grace. Thank him for revealing his grace in Christ. And ask him to help you dwell deeply in that grace, so that you might continue to grow in holiness.