When Peter concluded his first epistle, he summarized the basic purpose of the narrative. “I have written unto you briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God; stand ye fast therein” (5:12).
The thrust of the book is thus threefold.
- It contains certain exhortations to godliness.
- It sets forth the nature of true grace.
- It urges fidelity to the cause of Christ.
In your margin at the beginning of this book, note: Purpose of the book — 5:12. Then list these three points.
As a matter of amplification, let us consider more closely the theme of “true grace,” for it is implied that there might be a false concept of grace.
The word charis (grace) is found ten times in 1 Peter (twice rendered “acceptable” — 2:19-20, ASV). Here are the facts regarding this important New Testament concept:
- Grace is from God as a source (4:10; 5:10). It is an expression of divine benevolence.
- The outpouring of grace was foretold by the Old Testament prophets as they heralded the coming of the Messiah and His mission (1:10).
- Grace is not bestowed unconditionally; rather, it is given to those who humble themselves in submission to the will of God (5:5).
- God’s grace is given in manifold ways — in the larger context of salvation (Eph. 2:8-9); also, in a more restricted sense of a spiritual gift (whether natural or, as with some in the first century, miraculous).
Whereas grace is lovingly bestowed, and certainly men do not merit it, there is, nonetheless, a responsibility connected therewith. One must be a good steward of whatever gift of grace he has received (4:10), and continue to stand fast in the overall favor of God (5:12) — the hint being that one can fall therefrom (see Gal. 5:4; Heb. 12:15).
- Though grace is constantly being supplied to us now, it will have its consummation in the revelation of Christ at the last day (1:13).
Cross-reference these passages in 1 Peter. They give a rich meaning to the expression “true grace” (5:12).