Month: March 2015
1 Peter 5:13–14
13 She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love.
Both Peter and Paul loved people. They had genuine care and love for those they ministered to and ministered with. In the church we should have our closest friendships. These are people we have sacrificed with, labored with, and even suffered with. These are people we have prayed with over very difficult issues. We have counseled each other regarding serious life issues and seen God work us through them. These are people we have laughed and cried and sang and worshipped with. These are people who have influenced our children for God’s kingdom and glory. In the church we have friends who pass the friend stage and truly become our brothers and sisters even closer than our blood brothers and sisters.
As a result of this closeness, Peter encourages these dear friends and spiritual family members to greet one another with a kiss of love. The corresponding greeting today would be a handshake and a hug. In the greeting we should be so genuine that the one receiving our greeting knows that all is well between us. The one we are greeting in Christian brotherhood and love should be so warmly greeted that they know they are important to us. The Christian greeting is spoken of throughout the Epistles as we are given a constant reminder to practice it.
A Christian greeting should be different than a greeting in the workplace and the community. And, the one receiving the greeting should know it is different. When I greet someone with friendliness it is just that; it is courtesy and maybe an obligation. But when I greet a fellow believer, a brother or sister in Christ, it is anything but obligatory. I rejoice to see them! I am so glad to be a part of their day and have them a part of my day. This is why I so love Sundays and Wednesday nights, I get to be with those I love in Christ. For not only do I give a Christian greeting but I also receive one. I get to be encouraged by you who greet me with sincerity and love.
The next time you greet a brother or sister in Christ do so with Christian love and sincerity. In your greeting let them know that everything is well between you and that you are genuinely happy to see them. Communicate warmth and acceptance as you would to a dear family member. Make the Christian family that you are a part of the closest family that you have and begin this with a loving greeting.
1 Peter 5:12
12 By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand.
The Bible is under attack. Satan has attacked the words of God since the Garden of Eden when he caused Eve to question what God really said about not eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Today, the Bible is still under attack. So, when Peter ends his letter to his dispersed congregation he confirms to its readers that everything in it is true. Peter and Paul and John knew that what they were writing came from God. They knew that being inspired by God to write their letters gave these letters the same authority as the writings of the prophets of the Old Testament.
Peter might have known that someone was going to question the necessity of following what he wrote. He might have known that standing firmly in the grace of God would be difficult and those who were doing so needed an extra boost of truth.
Every religious system in the world is works based. Judaism, which practiced the Law given to Moses, or tried to, was a works-based, not a grace-based, system. Those who kept it better were well respected while those who failed to keep it were looked down upon. Is that not true of every religious system? If you want to be a good whatever all you have to do is keep their minimum requirements. Easter Sunday is proof of that for churches all around the world will have more people on Easter Sunday than all other Sundays because going to church on Christmas and Easter is the minimum requirement of their systems.
Peter wants us to know that we stand in the true grace of God. We do not stand in our baptism, our confirmation, our church membership or our church attendance. We don’t stand in our parents’ religion. We don’t stand on our own goodness. The only place we stand before God is in the true grace of God. Until we understand this and place all of our faith in the completed work of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, we don’t stand before God at all. God is not a universalist who saves everyone in the end. No, God only saves those who stand before Him in His true grace. He gives us grace and faith and we stand in His grace by His faith which He gives us. Don’t let anyone or any system alter Peter’s words here. Stand with Peter in the true grace of God which he wrote about.