You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Younger is the Greek word “neoteros,” which means youth in the sense of less mature spiritually. Subject means to be submissive to the authority of the pastor.
Clothe yourselves normally means to put garments on, but here it has to do with clothing of the soul. The clothing that Peter told them to put on was humility toward one another. The word humility is the Greek word “tapeinophrosune,” which means humble thinking or grace thinking. This is grace orientation toward all other believers. In the Christian life, when allowed to do so, God the Holy Spirit does all the work of producing the character of Jesus Christ in a believer. (Romans 8:29, Galatians 5:22-23) We should be truly thankful that God’s plan does not depend upon us, but upon Him. If you have your eyes on what you are doing for God, or even what someone else is doing for God (even the pastor), you will never be grace-oriented. Our focus should always be on what God is doing. God treats us in grace because of His character. We are to treat others with grace by using Divine Viewpoint Thinking.
The opposite of humility is arrogance. Arrogance is saying that we don’t need God or His plan; that we have a plan of our own. Arrogance is the first in a list of sins in Proverbs 6:17-19 that God hates. Arrogance is part of all sin if we really examine it. Any time we commit a sin we are, in essence, saying that our way is better than God’s way. This is exactly what Satan (Lucifer) did in eternity-past when he rebelled against God. We find a reference to this in Isaiah 14:12-14. This is commonly called “The Five I Wills of Satan.” The amazing thing is that Satan is still arrogant, even after his fall. However, it should not be surprising to us that Satan is still an arrogant being considering he attempted to overthrow God. Arrogance comes in many forms: self-justification, self-deception, self-absorption and self-righteousness.
Self-justification is illustrated for us in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. According to Genesis 3:8-13 Adam blamed Eve for his failure and Eve blamed Satan for her failure. We would say today in our vernacular “It’s not my fault,” “the Devil made me do it.” Or “I’m a victim of my environment” or “I have a disease” or “it’s my parent’s fault.” Self-justification rejects any personal responsibility for the actions of a person. Self-justification is a dangerous form of arrogance. Just look what it led to in the Garden of Eden!
Self-deception is another deadly form of arrogance as we see from I John 1:8-10. When a person is involved in practicing any pattern of sin over a prolonged period of time, it is easy to deceive oneself into believing that what they are doing is not sin at all. Self-deception can also be thinking about yourself in a conceited manner. For example, thinking that you are better, holier, more spiritual or closer to God that other believers. Self-deception can lead a person right into self-absorption.
Self-absorption is total preoccupation with self. The scriptural illustration of this form of arrogance is the Rich Young Ruler of Matthew 19:16-22. Here we have a story of a man that came to Jesus asking what he could do to inherit eternal life. Jesus illustrates to this man that he is a sinner in need of a Savior. It is the Rich Young Ruler’s self-absorption that keeps him out of Heaven. Blinded by his riches and possessions, he is unwilling to recognize his need for a Savior.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.
Humility is a mental attitude of grace. Being humble is being grace oriented to life. Humility recognizes that everything in life depends on Who and what God is and what He has done for us. Humility is not “Milton milk toast,” telling everyone about your failures or attempting to show others how pitiful you are!
Humility causes a believer to think correctly about himself. For example, he knows that his production as a believer is through the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit, which is a grace function. He also knows that everything that he is or has is because of God’s matchless grace. Therefore, he can be relaxed, confident and single-minded about his life. Humility recognizes the rights of others, eliminating both inferiority and superiority complexes, which means our attitude is one of “live and let live.” Humility gives the believer a personal sense of destiny (one of the problem-solving devices). (I Corinthians 4:7; Galatians 5:22-23; James 1:17) Humility greatly increases the learning of Bible doctrine because it means that you are teachable. Arrogant believers already know all they need to know. Humble believers recognize that they will never know it all, but strive to learn as much as they can on their way to spiritual maturity and beyond.
You cannot achieve true humility in the Christian life without the recognition of authority. And the first authority which is mentioned is “the mighty hand of God.” This particular word, mighty means a ruling system or a ruling power, and the ruling system or the ruling power is Bible doctrine. The hand of God is the hand of provision; the hand is extended in the giving of doctrine. Under this principle of the hand of God, God provides doctrine for the writers of Scripture. Then the next stage is the pastor-teacher who digs out of the Canon of Scripture the information and communicates it, so that your second authority is the pastor-teacher. You cannot get into the Word of God for yourself and understand it by simply reading it. That is why we have the gift of pastor-teacher. Then there is a third authority. As the believer priest responds, the Bible doctrine which is taught becomes the believer’s authority.
The word, exalt means to elevate or to promote. God always does the promoting and He does it on the basis of His omniscience. And the key is grace orientation. There is no promotion until you learn grace orientation. God cannot promote a non-grace oriented believer. He can only promote a grace oriented believer. You have to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and that means grace. Proper time is the time when you have acquired grace orientation through the intake of doctrine.
Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.
The principle is that the believer “hurls” (meaning of casting) his problems, his troubles, his worries, his problems, his difficulties, his frustrations, his adversities, all on the Lord. Anxiety is the Greek word “merimma” meaning to distract or to divide, which first occurs in the mind. “Mind-dividers” such as fear, worry, guilt, etc. are to be hurled to the Lord through the utilization of faith-rest. Why? Because God cares for you and will take care of the problem if you use the system He has designed for you.
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
The Greek word for sober is “nepho,” which means to be well-balanced, to be self-possessed under all circumstances. In other words, it means to have stability. The command is fulfilled by a believer who is spiritually mature, who is constantly feeding on the Word day by day, who is growing and has developed an edification complex of the soul, who has Bible doctrine as his frame of reference, has a doctrinal vocabulary, has divine norms and standards, and is thinking divine viewpoint.
Be on the alert is the result of stability. The Greek word for alert is “gregoreo,” which means to be vigilant, to be wide awake regarding circumstances, to be watchful. Only with doctrine in your soul can you be watchful and recognize satanic attacks. The devil cannot be everywhere at the same time. Since he cannot be everywhere at once he uses an army of demons (fallen angels) to do his work of distracting believers. He is also still the ruler of the world system in which we live and attempts to influence us negatively every day.
But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
Your ammunition in resisting the devil is strictly the Word of God. Firm was used in the military sense for a battle line and that is the connotation here. It is a battle line of believers under fire where they are steady, cool, efficient, based upon Bible doctrine. Your faith refers to what is believed, to the content of doctrine. We must be steadfast in the content of Bible doctrine.
The same experiences of suffering means undeserved suffering. The Greek word for accomplished is “epiteleo,” which means to bring to a completion or to endure. Undeserved suffering may be brought into our life in order to mature us spiritually. The present tense means that undeserved suffering will come into the life periodically in order that maturity might be accomplished. There are certain places where you reach a stage of Christian growth where undeserved suffering plus doctrine is necessary to advance spiritually.
And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
God the Father Who is the author of the divine plan of grace, and therefore it is not surprising that He is called by this title, the God of all grace. God can deal only with the believer in grace. God found a way to enter man into His plan and the principle involved is grace.
Called you is a term of election, theologically. Election means to be entered into union with Christ. Christ was elected under the doctrine of divine decrees under the Father’s plan, and every believer in union with Christ shares the election of Christ. This is also true of predestination. Predestination doesn’t mean that you are predestined to do something; it means that you share the destiny of Christ. Both election and predestination must never be divorced from union with Christ.
Eternal glory refers to Ultimate Sanctification and is a description of your eternal future with God. And it is all based upon Who and what Christ is. God has provided a way for you to be blessed in the midst of pressures, sufferings and adversities. God intends for us to discover the sufficiency of His grace. If you think your life should be free from suffering, you are wrong. You are caught in the middle of a great conflict, the Angelic Conflict, and you live in the devil’s world. God does not rule the world at the present time. It is inevitable that in this world only something from God is going to make things better and, in your personal life, only God’s grace provision will make things better. So suffering is designed to appreciate Who and what God is.
The word perfect means to mend a broken net. Suffering breaks the “nets” of our life and grace mends them. Confirm means to have mental stability. Strengthen means to impart spiritual strength. Establish means to establish an unwavering foundation, to set up a stable way of life. There is an order here. Once Bible doctrine mends the broken nets of suffering then you become stabilized in your mind, and when you become stabilized in your mind the doctrine which stabilizes you imparts strength, allowing you to set up a way of life based on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ and His Word.