"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble."
1 Peter 5:5
There are a couple of phrases in our verse for today that cut against the grain of our “flesh,” that is our sinful “old man” that lives in us. The expressions are “submit yourselves” and “be subject.” The last thing that our flesh wants to do is to “submit” to anyone! Let’s see what the Word will teach us about God’s expectation for us.
The verse begins with “likewise,” a word that means “in like manner…,” or “in the same way…,” or “similarly.” In verse 3 the “elders” (pastors), are told to be “good examples to the flock.” The young believers should be great examples of submission to believers in the church as well as unbelievers outside of the church.
And then Peter takes his instruction a step further and says, “Yea, all of you be subject one to another….” Did you catch that? “All of you!” So it’s not just about the younger being submissive, but it’s about all of God’s children having a Christ-like attitude of submission to each other within the church. As A.T. Robertson says, it is “all ages, sexes, classes,”1 of believers in the church.
The next phrase is also very important. Peter is saying to believers, “And be clothed with humility….” In the original language of the New Testament the word for “humility” is the idea of “having a humble opinion of one’s self.”2 And the verb translated “be clothed with” comes from the word that pictures a white apron that was worn by a slave. This apron was both a mark of a slave and showed that the slave was ready to work. Could I say it this way? We believers need to have a humble opinion of ourselves as we put on our “slave aprons” and serve each other. As I think through this verse I wonder if Peter remembered a night many years earlier when his Savior put on the slave’s apron and tried to wash his feet?
There is a simple and important reason why we need to “be clothed with humility.” Because we are reminded that, “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
Friend, how are you doing with putting on the “slaves’ white apron” of humility? It is worth all the trouble of being His “bond slave,”3 to enjoy the blessings of His grace.
Do not let yourself become “weary in well doing.”
1. A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, electronic version in eSword.
2. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek Definitions, electronic version in eSword.
3. The Old Testament “bond slave” can be studied in Exodus 21:6 and surrounding passage, and Deuteronomy 15:17 as well.