“By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.” (1 Peter 5:12, ESV)
I spoke with an evangelist one time about preaching and communicating biblical truth. One of the things I distinctly remember him saying to me was, “So what?” The point was, with all the content of a sermon or any biblical teaching for that matter, people need to clearly understand what to do with all that information. When we preach and teach, we often share much theological content. We often include nice illustrations and stories. Yet, if people leave without knowing why all the content makes a difference and what to do in their lives as a result, the teaching and preaching is somewhat futile.
Here, at the end of the letter, Peter gives a grand conclusion. It is a powerful takeaway. “Stand firm in it.” Stand firm in what? He wants them to stand firm in the “true grace of God” of which he wrote in the letter.
Peter wrote to believers in churches who were undergoing extreme persecution. He wrote words to encourage and challenge them in those troubling times. In the face of adversity, he wanted them to stand firm in the grace of God, to stand firm in the face of opposition. Like a soldier on the front lines under attack, Peter exhorted them to stand firm in the face of everything that their adversary would throw at them.
Why would Peter give such an exhortation? For to stand firm when under severe persecution is not easy. To stand firm under severe trials and tribulations is tough. However, this type of stand for the truth of God’s grace in Christ is one of the boldest witnesses that the believer can give to the world around them. It is easy to be a Christian when everything is rosy, when everyone loves and appreciates you. It is easy when life is a bowl of cherries. Yet to stand firm when everything crashes down around you is not.
Those who stand firm during the most severe trials of life give the strongest witness of the validity of their faith. Moreover, outsiders cannot help but take notice of the strength of God’s grace by which one stands firm in the faith. It is for this reason that historically persecution has never stopped the advance of Christianity. In fact, it seems to have thrived in times of persecution.
We will all encounter times of trials and tribulation. As we stand firm in the faith in the midst of these times, we have the boldest witness to those around us. Therefore, stand firm in the true grace of God.