The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
May 15, 2011
1) 1 Peter 5:7-9 (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
1 Peter 5:7-9
by Tom Edwards
Last week, we ended with Peter's exhortation to "humble yourselves
under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time"
(1 Pet. 5:6). Peter then adds to that, by saying, "casting all
your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you" (v. 7). How good
that is to really take to heart! For what more
encouraging reason could be given for prayer than simply knowing that
the Lord wants us to do so because He cares for His children!
God's concern and care for His people can also be seen in Psalm 55:22:
"Cast your burden upon the LORD and
He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."
Try to imagine the contrast between that intense caring the Lord has
for His people to the "feelings" an idol would have toward its
worshipers. It has been said that the heathen gods and goddesses
were always depicted as being very distant from those who worshiped
them and not even having a concern for them. Of course, what
would you expect from lifeless images and false gods?
The Greek word for "anxiety," in 1 Peter 5:7, comes from
"merimna," which Bullinger defines as "dividing or distracting the
mind; then, that which does so, as care, thought, esp. anxious care,
There are things we should not be overly concerned about: For
instance, Jesus shows that if we are seeking after His kingdom first
and all His righteousness, then we don't have to be overly concerned
for even the necessities of food and clothing -- for they will be added
to us (Matt. 6:25-34). He also cites the birds of the air as an
example of creatures that God feeds, and then asks the rhetorical
question, "Are you not worth much more than they?"
This Greek word "merimna" is also translated as "worries" in Luke 8:14,
in the parable of the Seed and the Sower, in which we see the harm it
can lead to: "And the seed which fell among the thorns, these are the
ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with
worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to
In warning of the destruction of Jerusalem, which was to take place
during the generation of whom Christ spoke, He urged them to "Be on
guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and
drunkenness and the worries [merimna] of life, and that day come on you
suddenly like a trap."
As Peter shows, when it comes to "anxiety," the Christian is to cast
that on the Lord. With reference to the word "casting" in this verse,
Guy N. Woods states that it "is derived from a term which means to
deposit, and is in the aorist tense here, thus signifying a
once-for-all act by which one rids himself forevermore of all anxious
care by depositing it with the Lord!"
Peter than goes on to say in 1 Peter 5:8, "Be of sober spirit, be on
the alert...." The Greek word for "sober" is "nepho."
Strong shows it to mean not only "to abstain from wine (keep sober),"
but also, figuratively, as "be discreet." In addition to
being sober, Thayer also defines it as "to be calm and collected in
spirit" and, secondarily, as "to be temperate, dispassionate,
Peter had also taught the need to "keep sober in spirit" in 1 Peter
1:13; and in 1 Peter 4:7, he speaks of being "of sound judgment and
sober spirit for the purpose of prayer." In writing to Timothy,
Paul instructed him to "be sober in all things" (2 Tim. 4:5); and Paul
also urged the Thessalonians to "be alert and sober" (1 Thess. 5:6).
In 1 Peter 5:8, the NIV translates "sober" as "Be self-
controlled." It is also rendered in some other versions as, "curb
every passion," "Be sensible," "Be clear-minded," "Be vigilant," and
Coupled with being "sober" is also the command to "be on the
alert." The KJV renders it as "be vigilant." It comes from
the Greek word "gregoreuo," which Strong defines as "to keep awake,
that is, watch (literally or figuratively)...." The RSV and
ASV translate it as "be watchful."
One way we are to keep on the alert can be seen in Colossians 4:2,
"Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of
thanksgiving." It is the same word Jesus used when he told Peter,
James, and John in the Garden of Gethsemane to "keep watch with Me"
(Matt. 26:38,40); and in verse 41, to "Keep watching and praying,
that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the
flesh is weak." So prayer is one of the ways in which we keep
The last place in the Bible where this term is used is in Revelation
16:15, where the Lord Himself parenthetically declares, "(Behold, I am
coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who STAYS AWAKE and keeps his
clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his
shame.)" This is figurative, but it indicates the need for the
saint to be alert in living the life of a Christian, so he will be
clothed with the garments of righteousness (cf. Rev. 3:1-5).
In 1 Peter 5:8, Peter also refers to the devil as being the Christian's
"adversary." The Greek word is "antidikos," which is defined by
Bullinger as "an adversary or opponent in a lawsuit, any enemy or
accuser." The NIV renders it as "enemy" in this verse. It
actually is translated as "an opponent at law" and "opponent" in
Matthew 5:25, where Jesus says, "Make friends quickly with your
opponent at law while you are with him on the way, in order that your
opponent may not deliver you to the judge, and the judge to the
officer, and you be thrown into prison." The devil certainly is
an accuser. Consider these following verses: Zechariah 3:1,
"Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of
the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him." In
Revelation 12:10, Satan is referred to as "'...the accuser of our
brethren...who accuses them before our God day and night.'" Yes,
Satan is an accuser; but we know his accusations are false charges
because of what Jesus tells us about him in John 8:44, "You are of your
father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was
a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because
there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his
own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies."
There are various names or phrases that the devil goes by. Two
very common ones are "Satan" (which is used 53 times in the Bible) and
the "devil" (which is used only in the NT 34 times). As we saw in
Revelation 12:10, Satan is the "accuser" of the brethren. In John
8:44, he is called a "murderer" -- and has been that way since the
beginning. In that same passage, he is not only a liar, but also
the "father of lies." In Revelation 12:9, he is called "the devil
and Satan," "the great dragon," and "the serpent of old" -- 4 different
designations in just one verse. The passage states that it was he
"who deceives the whole world"; and that "he was thrown down to the
earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." The "serpent of
old" is an allusion to the devil when he was in the form of a serpent
in the Garden of Eden. It was he who had tempted Eve to eat from
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and deceived her into doing
so. So we are made aware of his corrupt and
deceitful nature right from the start; and according to 1 Timothy 3:6,
it appears that it was pride that had led Satan into sin and away from
God. Jesus spoke of him as being the "enemy" (Matt.
13:39). In Matthew 4:3, he is called "the tempter." He is also
referred to as "the evil one" (Matt. 13:38). Matthew 12:24-26
shows that Satan is also called "Beelzebul," which the KJV renders as
"Beelzebub." In 2 Corinthians 6:15, he is also referred to as
So Peter warns the brethren of the devil's intent, of his walking about
"as a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (in 1 Peter 5:8).
John shows a three-fold way in which early believers had overcome the
wiles of the devil. Revelation 12:11,12 states, "...they overcame him
because of the
blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they
did not love their life even to death." This last phrase means
they were willing to be martyrs for Jesus' sake -- rather than saving
their physical life by denying the Lord.
John says that "the devil has come down...having great wrath, knowing
that he has only a short time." How did Satan come down to
these? What exactly was it that these Christians would be up
against? Would it not be the persecutions, which is the primary
reason for the need of the Revelation letter, in order to bring comfort
and hope to these early Christians who were undergoing that? And
would not that persecution be what is being attributed to the work of
Satan? That, though it was the evil being carried out through
men, they were as Satan's agents. So the devil was being personified
through these persecutors of the church. Consider, for example,
what Jesus had
said to the church at Pergamum in Revelation 2:13, "I know where you
dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not
deny My faith, even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful
one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells." It has been
said that Pergamum had been "a center of heathen idolatry" and
"notorious" for that. That would certainly seem like Satan's kind
of place. So though Satan did not literally have a throne there,
Pergamum, due to all its wickedness, is figuratively depicted as a
place where Satan not only dwelt, but also ruled. Similarly,
Revelation 2:10, which was addressed to the church in Smyrna, states,
"Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about
to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will
have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you
the crown of life." Satan did not literally cast any of the
brethren into prison, but the evil of that being done by non-Christians
toward the saints is being symbolized by Satan -- as if he were the one
who was personally carrying that out.
So, in a manner of speaking, Satan still has his servants today who are
carrying out his evil intents -- and doing so, whether they realize it
or not. Paul speaks of these in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: "For such
men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as
apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises
himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if
his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness;
whose end shall be according to their deeds."
Peter tells the Christian to "resist" the devil, "firm in your faith"
(1 Peter 5:9). Though there are various translations that render
this as "your faith," there also are those that translate it as "the
faith," which is truly what one needs in order to resist the
devil. In other words, not merely one's own subjective faith;
but, rather, the objective faith of the gospel itself. For it is
"the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16).
The term "resist" comes from a Greek word that means "to stand against,
that is, oppose." It is the same Greek word James uses when he
exhorts the brethren in James 4:7 to "Submit therefore to God.
RESIST the devil and he will flee from you." The Greek word is
rendered several times as "opposed" in the NASB.
Unfortunately, many people today -- just like many in days gone by --
our guilty of resisting what is good, while accepting what is
evil. This is exemplified in 2 Timothy 3:8,9: "Just as Jannes and
Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of
depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not
make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as
Jannes's and Jambres's folly was also." Paul also told Timothy
about another individual like that -- Alexander the coppersmith -- in 2
Timothy 4:14,15. He was "vigorously OPPOSED" to the gospel.
The way we resist the devil is by not yielding to temptation; by not
giving ourselves over to any sinful thing; by maintaining a love for
the truth; by fighting the good fight and keeping the faith; by hating
and shunning the evil, but loving and practicing the good.
Paul gives instruction concerning this to the Ephesians in Ephesians
6:10-13: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His
might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand
firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against
flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against
the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of
wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of
God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having
done everything, to stand firm." So we need to continually grow
strong in the Lord and be well-equipped with the full armor of God, as
Paul goes on to speak of in this chapter; and part of that is the
shield of faith -- Eph. 6:16, "in addition to all, taking up the shield
of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming
arrows of the evil one."
Peter comforts the brethren by letting them know that whatever
suffering they would have to endure for the cause of Christ, other
brethren elsewhere were also going through similar circumstances.
This might remind you of what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No
temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is
faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are
able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so
that you will be able to endure it."
What can a man go through that someone else had not already gone
through in some similar way? That phrase, "in the world" (1 Pet.
5:9) that refers to other brethren who are undergoing similar trials,
is thought, by some, to be an allusion toward one being "under Nero and
his persecution." That to be in the world at that time, for the
Christian, would be to be caught up in Nero's opposition.
Concerning all Christians of that day being caught up in trials, what
about what Paul writes Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:12? "Indeed, all
who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."
Zerr makes a good point with regard to 1 Peter 5:8,9. He writes,
"This verse will throw more light on the preceding one. The
pronoun 'whom' refers to the devil, and Christians are exhorted to
resist him. Then in direct connection with the subject they are
told that their brethren have been experiencing the same
afflictions. This makes it plain that when Christians are tempted
and persecuted by evil men, as these disciples had been, the apostle
would say it is the work of the devil, and in that way he goes about
like a roaring (ravenous) lion."
May we ever take heed to God's word, to "Be of sober spirit," to "be on
the alert," and to increase in the faith so that we will be "firm" in
it and able to "resist" the craftiness and evil intent of the
devil who seeks to do us harm (such as through his followers, whether
they realize it or not). For in equipping ourselves with
God's word, we will have the Lord's help in overcoming all the wiles of
this ancient foe -- and God will be glorified.
News & Notes
Let those of us who are Christians continue to remember Agnes Shuff in our prayers who has
been under hospice care for more than a year. Let us also be
praying for Cheryl Crews who
has not been able to be with us for a while, due to various
ailments. We want to also be praying that all will go well for Ed St. Clair in his upcoming medical
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ
(Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
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Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 6 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
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