This post is not about thanking God for great football teams of many (😭) years ago. But it is about pointing praise up to God for the work of salvation and spiritual renewal that He is doing in our lives right now. At the time of this writing, at least 30 students in our current seventh grade have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior in the past nine months. For our current sixth grade, the number is now 29 and counting (a young man just accepted Christ just last week!). I do not know the exact numbers in eighth grade, but we have seen several students saved in that class since last spring and I am convinced that there will be more before this school year ends. Many others in all three of these grades have seen a fresh movement of God in their lives and rededicated themselves to following Christ.
We have middle school students getting excited about reading their Bibles, praying, and sharing their faith. Students are choosing to come to weekly lunch time discipleship meetings and choosing to read this blog or something like it on their own to help them have personal times with God. Some students are even rearranging their sports commitments and schedules to make going to church each week a priority (this may be the biggest miracle of all in terms of a real example of faith in Christ costing our students something). If this is not a revival, then I don’t know what else to call it.
Today’s verse reminds us that we must give God ALL of the glory for this amazing work of grace. Peter is nearing the end of his letter, and he has just given a closing prayer of blessing over his readers (that’s called a “benediction”) in verse 10. He prayed for them to become rooted and strong in their faith in Jesus Christ. There are teachers, parents, and students who have been praying for years for God to do that very thing in our student body. Now Peter reminds these suffering but overcoming Christians of the first century Roman Empire that they should give all thanks and honor to the Jesus who saved them. His “dominion” or rule over this world will go on forever and ever. It’s His kingdom that was growing in and among them, and it’s His kingdom that is at work now at NRCA, too. Like Peter, we see what God has been doing and say, “Thank you, Lord” and “Amen!” (“May it be so”).
The Text (1 Peter 5:11)
11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Background and Observations
• It is very common in the New Testament letters for the writer to finish a particular teaching with a sudden exclamation of praise to the Lord like we see in 1 Peter 5:11. For example, in 1 Timothy 6:16, Paul finishes giving a challenge to his son in the faith Timothy by reminding him that the call to preach the Word comes from God Himself, “who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.” For us, too, giving praise to God for His work in and around us should be a common and natural occurrence if our eyes stay fixed on Jesus. There should be times in our lives when we just stop and say, “Wow, God is good!”
• The sovereignty or providence of God is one of the major themes of this letter. By talking about the eternal “dominion” or rule of Christ over this world, Peter wants his readers to understand that even when life is difficult and confusing, no, ESPECIALLY when it is difficult and confusing, God is still in control. Their suffering was not in vain, and neither is yours. The Lord is working ALL things for your good, to make you into the image of His Son Jesus (Romans 8:28).
Questions to Think About
1. What are three specific works of God’s grace in your life from the last year for which you can thank Him right now? Taking the time to reflect on God’s work in our past helps us to maintain a humble attitude of thankfulness and prayerful dependence on Him for our futures.
2. Are than any areas of your life that you are currently using to glorify yourself instead of Christ? How might you turn these selfish areas into opportunities to give praise to God?