Series: Do we REALLY believe?
MESSAGE: Humility’s Role in our Glorification
Humility’s Role in our Glorification
Last week our lesson was regarding Living for Jesus in difficult times and circumstances. We wrapped things up prematurely before we completed the end of the chapter in 1 Peter 4, so that is where we will pick up this week.
Testing & proving were never very far from the minds of the Apostles and the early church
“(12) Dear friends, when the fiery ordeal arises among you to test you, don’t be surprised by it, as if something unusual were happening to you. (13) Instead, as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah rejoice, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory. (14) If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
“(15) None of you, however, should suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a meddler. (16) But if anyone suffers as a Christian, he should not be ashamed, but should glorify God with that name.”
“(17) For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?”
“(18) And if the righteous is saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? (19) So those who suffer according to God’s will should, in doing good, entrust themselves to a faithful Creator.”
Immediately springs to mind the actions of our Lord before Pilate Who was silent and did not come to His Own defense, but even in His reply to Pilate gave both glory to God and placed trust in Him.
John 19:10-12, “(10) So Pilate said to Him, “You’re not talking to me? Don’t You know that I have the authority to release You and the authority to crucify You?” (11) “You would have no authority over Me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given you from above. This is why the one who handed Me over to you has the greater sin.” (12) From that moment Pilate made every effort to release Him.”
This was prophesied regarding this specific point in time as well as regarding His general His character in Isaiah 53 and it was almost certainly what Peter had in mind when he penned these words since Isa. 53:6-9 is within a context of shepherds and sheep and that is precisely where Peter goes next in his closing statements in this letter.
Isaiah 53:6-9, “(6) We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the LORD has punished Him for the iniquity of us all. (7) He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth. (8) He was taken away because of oppression and judgment; and who considered His fate? For He was cut off from the land of the living; He was struck because of My people’s rebellion.
(9) They made His grave with the wicked, and with a rich man at His death, although He had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully.”
Also notice Peter, being consistent with the New Testament teachings regarding suffering, connect our present suffering to the glory of having Christ’s character fully formed in us.
After saying these things, Peter begins his ending statements with THEREFORE…meaning, it is for these reasons I say what I do here to pastors, young men and all of you.
1 Peter 5:1-7,
“(1) Therefore, as a fellow elder and witness to the sufferings of the Messiah, and also a participant in the glory about to be revealed, I exhort the elders among you: (2) shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for the money but eagerly; (3) not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. (4) And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (5) Likewise, you younger men, be subject to the elders. And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (6) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time, (7) casting all your care upon Him, because He cares about you.”
As Christians we are sometimes reserved to contribute or stipulate God’s ability to do anything BECAUSE of or due to our actions. Yet, nevertheless here we have such a statement and claim.
God’s ability to freely exalt us is directly contingent upon our continued humility. Humility therefore becomes a very important thing for the Christian and it takes on different expressions based upon your position, your call, the authority God has delegated to you as well as your age and gender.
Let’s look at this pivotal word…
As you know I have a growing love and appreciation for languages and how words take on different meanings within different contexts.
This word in its most common usage was a comparative word between the wealthy and the poor, but took on a greater meaning within other contexts.
Basically it meant to be of low degree. It was used this easy in James 1:9-10,
“(9) The brother of humble circumstances should boast in his exaltation; (10) but the one who is rich should boast in his humiliation, because he will pass away like a flower of the field.”
It’s secondary meaning is that of lowliness of mind. This is something which is actually spoken against in our day. Something which is seen as inhibiting self-advancement…and that is largely true. Ironically, that is both Peter and Jame’s point – don’t exalt yourself, but hupotasso yourself under God’s hand allowing Him to exalt you in the way and time which He approves.
The fullness of the word in this context takes on these meanings…
modest, including the idea of affliction, mild mannered, modest, the opposite of courageous or brazen. In Romans 12:16 it is pitted against pride.
In the great remainder of places the additional idea of piety toward God is added as in James 4:6 and here in 1Peter 5:5.
In both places, they are actually quoting from Prov. 3:33-35, which offers us even greater insight. It says, “(33) The LORD’s curse is on the household of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the righteous; (34) He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble. (35) The wise will inherit honor, but He holds up fools to dishonor.”
In short, humility is the only state of mind which is appropriate before God and even between each other, since we all bear His image.
Wuest helps us understand the breadth of the meaning by translating these words like this…
1 Peter 5:5-14, “(5) Moreover, all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes himself to those who set themselves above others, but gives grace to those who are lowly. Permit yourselves therefore to be humbled under the mighty hand of God, in order that you He may exalt in an appropriate season, having deposited with Him once for all the whole of your worry, because to Him it is a matter of concern respecting you.”
Now this humility is said to be the condition of our exaltation, but no real description is here offered as to what that means.
I was surprised how many commentators seems divided on this issue since, to me it seems very clear what the exaltation is and in fact when the appropriate time is.
There are several copies of these texts which are quite early which render the words a little different and I find that helpful.
A few say something like this… “That He may exalt you in the day of visitation” which seems to me to point to two days.
- On our everyday, as we continue walking with Jesus and responding in humility to the inward working of the Holy Spirit, we have days of visitation where God honors us with advancement into Christ’s image and coming to know Him more.
- At the end, when we stand before Him and are changed into His likeness in a moment.
At any rate, it seems to me that this is the only exalting which would have any real meaning in the life of a Christian. It certainly does not seem to point to physical advancement in work, or life circumstances since we do not witness these things in the lives of those who originally preached the Gospel and were contributors to the New Testament which we study and read.
As such I decided to look up the word “glory” as it may relate to the word exult and I found that the word Glory which is Doxa in the Greek, can be used as a synonym for the word exultation – so it seems that we are on the right track.
Let’s look at a few passages which connect the sufferings we go through with humility with the Glory of Christ being formed in us in order to confirm or deny this interpretation of Peter’s words. Also we need to remember that even when humility is not mentioned, it is implied by the word grace, because without humility there is no grace. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Romans 2:2-11, “(2) But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. (3) And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? (4) Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (5) But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, (6) who “WILL RENDER TO EACH ONE ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS“: (7) eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; (8) but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, (9) tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; (10) but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (11) For there is no partiality with God.”
Glory seems to be at least part of the goal of humanity since it is THE thing mentioned that we have fallen short of…
Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
Romans 5:1-5, “(1) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (2) through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (3) And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; (4) and perseverance, character; and character, hope. (5) Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Romans 8:16-18, “(16) The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (17) and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (18) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
1 Corinthians 15:41-49, “(41) There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. (42) So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. (43) It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. (44) It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (45) And so it is written, “THE FIRST MAN ADAM BECAME A LIVING BEING.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (46) However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. (47) The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. (48) As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. (49) And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.”
2 Corinthians 3:15-18, “(15) But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. (16) Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. (17) Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (18) But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 4:15-18, “(15) For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. (16) Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. (17) For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, (18) while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Colossians 1:24-29, “(24) I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, (25) of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, (26) the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. (27) To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (28) Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. (29) To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.”
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17, “(13) But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, (14) to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (15) Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. (16) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, (17) comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”
2Tim. 2:10, “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
So, it seems to be a well established truth in the Gospel that humility brings grace and grace brings internal character change which is tested and tried in the fires of suffering in order to prove us and the genuineness of our trust in Him – resulting in our glory…and in truth there was no real need to read those other verses for this confirmation as to what God was saying through Peter regarding our being exalted since it is brought up here at the end of the letter.
1Peter 5:8-14, “(8) Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. (9) Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your brothers in the world.”
“(10) Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little.”
“(11) To Him be the dominion forever. Amen. (12) Through Silvanus, whom I consider a faithful brother, I have written briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Take your stand in it! (13) She who is in Babylon, also chosen, sends you greetings, as does Mark, my son. (14) Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.”
I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.
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