and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, (5:5b–6)
Inseparably linked to and underlying a submissive attitude is a mind given to humility (cf. Ps. 25:9; Dan 10:12; Mic. 6:8; Matt. 5:3–5; Eph. 4:1–2; James 4:10). Because always the truly humble—and only the humble—submit, both of Peter’s commands encompass all believers.
Clothe (egkomboomai) literally means “to tie something on oneself,” such as a work apron worn by servants. Here it describes figuratively covering oneself with an attitude of humility as one submits to authorities over him. The word for humility here is tapeinophrosunēn, “lowliness of mind,” or “self-abasement.” It describes the attitude of one who willingly serves, even in the lowliest of tasks (cf. 1 Cor. 4:1–5; 2 Cor. 4:7; Phil. 2:5–7). Perhaps even more so than today, humility was not an admired trait in the first-century pagan world. People saw it as a characteristic of weakness and cowardice, to be tolerated only in the involuntary submission of slaves.
As Peter wrote this verse, he likely recalled Jesus’ tying a towel on Himself and washing the disciples’ feet, including his own, as recorded in John 13:3–11 and applied by Jesus in verses 12–17, as follows:
So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” (cf. Ps. 131:1–2; Matt. 25:37–40; Luke 22:24–27; Rom. 12:3, 10, 16; Phil. 2:3–11)
To reinforce his exhortation for humility, Peter quoted from Proverbs 3:34, God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble (cf. James 4:6). Peter’s quote differs slightly from the Septuagint by substituting God for the Septuagint’s “Lord,” but the names are obviously synonymous. Without question, that the Lord is opposed to the proud (cf. Prov. 6:16–17a; 8:13) is the greatest motivation for saints to adopt the attitude of humility. Pride sets one against God and vice versa. On the other hand, God blesses and gives grace to the humble (cf. Job 22:29; Ps. 37:11; Prov. 22:4; 29:23; Matt. 11:29; Luke 10:21; 18:13–14; 1 Cor. 1:28–29; 2 Cor. 4:7–18). The prophet Isaiah stated the principle well, “For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isa. 57:15; cf. 66:2).
The apostle Paul knew the grace that comes to the humble:
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:7–10)
Based on the above verse from Proverbs that Peter mentioned, this command comes forcefully: therefore humble yourselves in submission, not only to avoid divine opposition and to receive divine grace, but because the authority over all believers in the church is none other than the mighty hand of God. Or as James stated it, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord” (4:10a).
The mighty hand of God is descriptive of God’s sovereign power at work in and through the elders of the church, as well as in the life experience of His people (cf. Isa. 48:13; Ezek. 20:33–34; Zeph. 1:4; 2:13; Luke 1:49–51). Whether for deliverance (Ex. 3:19–20; 13:3–16), for testing (Job 30:20–21), or for chastening (Ezek. 20:33–38), God’s might is always accomplishing His eternal purposes on behalf of His own (cf. Pss. 57:2; 138:8; Isa. 14:24–27; 46:10; 55:11; Jer. 51:12; Acts 2:23; Rom. 8:28; 9:11, 17; Eph. 3:11; Phil. 2:13). In their time of persecution, suffering, and testing, that assurance would encourage Peter’s audience to persevere (cf. Ps. 37:24; Prov. 4:18; Matt. 10:22; 24:13; Rom. 8:30–39; Heb. 12:2–3; James 1:4, 12; Rev. 3:5), knowing that all their suffering is only so that He may exalt them at the proper time (cf. 5:10). Even as Jesus Christ was born at the appropriate time (Gal. 4:4; Titus 1:3) and died a substitutionary death at the exact time God designed (1 Tim. 2:6), God will exalt (hupsoō, “to raise or lift up”) believers out of their trials, tribulations, and sufferings at His wisely determined time. Some have suggested that this exaltation could be a reference to the final eschatological glory that comes to believers at the Second Coming, the “last time” Peter referred to in 1:5 (cf. 2:12); but the Greek phrase en kairō is literally “in time” (cf. Acts 19:23; Rom. 9:9) and is not an eschatological term. It is better to see this as the appointed time when the Lord lifts the humble and submissive believer up out of difficulty.
If the foundational attitude for spiritual growth is submission, humility is, then, the footing to which the foundation is anchored. To become proudly rebellious, fight against the Lord’s purposes, or judge His providence as unkind or unfair is to forfeit the sweet grace of His exaltation when the trial has fulfilled its purpose (cf. James 1:2–4). It is the Lord Jesus Himself who promised, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11).
1 Peter 5:5–6
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:5–6)
The Global Need for Humility
The pioneering missionary William Carey wrote a letter to one of his sons on the occasion of Carey’s birthday:
I am this day 70 years old, a monument of Divine mercy and goodness, though on a review of my life I find much, very much, for which I ought to be humbled in the dust; my direct and positive sins are innumerable, my negligence in the Lord’s work has been great, I have not promoted his cause, nor sought his glory and honor as I ought. Notwithstanding all this, I am spared till now, and am still retained in his work. I trust for acceptance with Him to the blood of Christ alone.
This is an astonishing statement, given the scope of Carey’s devotion and labor. He went to India in 1793 and worked without respite, with scarcely a tenth of the resources or support he needed. He hardly rested as he evangelized, taught, and translated the Bible, in whole or in part, into forty languages or dialects. How could Carey possibly fault himself for sinfulness and sloth? Did he suffer from poor self-esteem, morbid self-inspection, or the ancient battle with age and mortality?
Carey’s letter seems strange today because so many people succumb to pride. Just as some physical diseases are treated but never cured, so spiritual pride is treated but never fully removed. Pride is also a malady that resists treatment. Flaws such as an explosive temper and procrastination are hard to deny because the evidence is public. But some sins are hidden, even from those who suffer them. Pride and self-righteousness are cases in point because awareness of sin is precisely what the proud lack.
If someone points out a sin, the proud plead special circumstances or a misunderstanding. If a friend points out that the very refusal to admit any sin is pride, and that pride is the root of the problem, the proud protest that, too: “But I haven’t done anything wrong. Why are you picking on me? You are so critical.” The proud examine themselves and say, “Very good.”
Again and again, the Scriptures tell us that God opposes the proud and brings them low, even as he exalts the humble. According to 1 Samuel 2:7–8, “The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.” David agrees: “Though the Lord is on high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar” (Ps. 138:6). Job 5:11 declares that God “sets on high those who are lowly.” And Isaiah 2:11 agrees: “The lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (all esv).
With tiny variations, Jesus says the same thing on three separate occasions: “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11; 18:14; Matt. 23:12; cf. Matt. 18:4; Luke 1:52). Both 1 Peter 5:5 and James 4:6 quote the Septuagint of Proverbs 3:34 almost verbatim, saying, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Clearly, the call to humility pervades Scripture. In 1 Peter, it is the apostle’s last word on leadership and the first in his series of closing exhortations for the church.
The Need for Humility before Leaders
In 1 Peter 5:1–4, Peter told the church’s elders—its leaders—to shepherd and oversee the flock in three ways. They must serve eagerly, not for personal gain; they must serve willingly, not grudgingly; and they must not domineer, but set an example. If these are the duties of the elders, then the prime duty of the younger is to be submissive, to yield, to follow, to defer, even to obey (see chapter 8).
Peter teaches that elders must lead and that young men must be submissive (1 Peter 5:1–5). But he quickly moves to the whole church: “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’ ” (5:5).
In 1 Peter 5:5, the niv says that “young men” must be submissive, but the original is simply “the younger” (see esv). A few interpreters believe that “the younger” means younger leaders, who should defer to older leaders, but there is no real evidence that the early church had a recognized body of younger leaders. Rather, Peter shifts from the duty of shepherd to flock to the duty of flock to shepherd. “The younger” might seem like an unusual term for the whole church. Peter does call his readers “dear friends” twice (2:11; 4:12), but he doesn’t have a favorite term of address as, for example, the epistles of James (“brothers”) and John (“beloved”) do. Further, Peter has already used “in the same way” (niv) or “likewise” (esv) to introduce reciprocal duties in 3:1, 7. So it makes sense to match the duties of “the elders” (5:1) with the duties of “the younger.”
It is human nature for adults, especially “the younger,” to pick and choose what we like in the style and direction of our leaders. But we need to question ourselves. If we constantly judge our leaders, deciding what we do and don’t like, what we will and won’t heed, we aren’t truly following them. The songwriter Jeff Tweedy illustrates the point. He leads a band, Wilco, that one critic called peaceful on the outside, demented on the inside. The band plays soft ballads with jazzy chords, then scorching, cacophonous guitar licks. Laid-back country rock plays beside electric distortion that hides simple melodies. The band changes styles radically between albums and sometimes even within a song. Some suspect that they aim to befuddle their fans. Their song “Side with the Seeds” addresses the issue. It starts bluesy, tuneful, and slow. It picks up speed, until two guitars race to a dissonant, exhausted coda. The lyrics lament that some fans of trees “side with the leaves” and some “side with the seeds.” To side with the seeds is absurd, since trees need leaves and seeds alike. People try to choose between the two sides of Wilco—the tuneful band and the experimental one. But Wilco is both, and it’s impossible to choose between them. The song’s last line says, “I’ll side with you, if you side with me.” So Tweedy asks fans to side with him and his band as a whole, not to choose between the parts that they love or hate. True loyalty goes to whole persons, in both their winsome and difficult aspects. That is true in friendship, in marriage, and in leader-follower relationships.
Good leaders are loyal to the whole church, even the people and policies they dislike. Wise followers yield to the church and its leaders as a whole, even if certain decisions seem flawed. Jesus loves both sides of us, the beautiful and the ruined. We can do the same for each other and the church.
The Need for Humility in All Church Relationships
By chapter 5, Peter has already spoken of subjection to authorities several times (1 Peter 2:13, 18; 3:1), so he can quickly shift from his words on church leadership to the first of his closing exhortations for his church. While the younger should especially submit to their elders, everyone should be humble: “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’ ” (5:5b).
By definition, a church is a gathering of the humble. Disciples are confident of their worth, since we know that God created us in his image and valued us enough to send his Son for us. Yet every believer is aware of his sin and need. Every disciple has repented, and when we repent, we both confess particular sins and admit that we are selfish and rebellious to the bone. Knowing that we are incapable of self-reform, we trust in Christ to forgive and restore us. This is the conviction of every Christian.
For this reason, Peter says, “God opposes the proud.” This is a global principle, often repeated in Scripture. It is a gospel principle, essential for a saving relationship with God. Yet it is vital for human relationships, too. Peter wisely leads with it as he offers his guidance for a church that needs to survive constant pressure, even persecution.
It is human nature—fallen human nature—to be proud. Left to ourselves, we will be the center of our universe and our own chief concern. We trust ourselves and our resources. If we succeed, we crow, “Behold what I have done.” If we falter, we rationalize, “I had no resources! What could I do?”
Self-reliance, a sense of our merit, runs strong in humanity. Yet believers are humble in principle because we know and confess that we sin. More important, we are sinful and too weak to reform ourselves. Therefore, we should be humble.
In Psalm 51:5, David confessed that he sinned because sin dwells deep within: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” After twenty-five years of daunting service to the Lord Jesus, the great apostle Paul confessed that he was still “a slave to sin” in Romans 7:14.
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.… For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. (Rom. 7:14–15, 18 esv)
This means, first, that we deserve none of God’s favor, that his salvation is entirely gracious. We could easily keep our attention there, but we must hear the exhortation to practical humility: “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’ ” (1 Peter 5:5). It is illuminating to outline the passage:
5:5 Command: “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another,”
Reason: “because God opposes the proud,”
Promise: “but gives grace to the humble.”
5:6 Command: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand,”
Promise: “that he may lift you up in due time.”
The Christ-centered theologian might focus on 1 Peter 5:6 and the gospel. Yet at the moment, Peter uses the gospel to motivate conduct. Given the context, we realize that Peter wants believers to obey their spiritual leaders. Beyond that, Peter urges the reciprocity between all believers that lets Christian community thrive.
This reminds us of Peter’s prior statement of the need for mutuality in 1 Peter 4. There, in similar language, Peter said that believers should “keep loving one another earnestly, … show hospitality to one another without grumbling,” and “serve one another” with our God-given gifts (4:8–10 esv). In 1 Peter 5, the common motif in the commands lies with motivation, not mutuality. If we remove some subordinate clauses, the interest is clear (following the niv):
5:5 “Clothe yourselves with humility … because ‘God opposes the proud.…’ ”
5:6 “Humble yourselves … that he may lift you up.”
So Peter offers theological motives for his instruction. The command “Clothe yourselves with humility” imagines humility as a garment that believers fasten to themselves. The root of “clothe yourselves” refers to an apron that a slave or herdsman tied over his tunic to keep it clean. In Greek culture, humble-mindedness “meant an attitude expected of slaves but unworthy of free people.” Our word humiliation has similar emotional heft. Yet believers should wrap themselves in humility because “God opposes the proud.”
God does indeed oppose the proud, as the Bible often says (Isa. 26:5; Lam. 1:5; Ezek. 17:24; Hos. 14:9). Well-known narratives show how pride operates and how pride toward God ruins relations with neighbors. For example, Cain and Abel both brought gifts to God in Genesis. Abel brought the first and best from his flocks. Cain brought whatever he pleased from his fields. When God preferred Abel’s gift of the first and the best (“fat portions”) to Cain’s featureless offering of “the fruits of the soil,” Cain took umbrage (Gen. 4:1–5). Instead of repenting, Cain stuffed himself with false rage, then murdered his innocent-but-envied brother Abel. When God confronted him, he denied everything. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” When God rebuked Cain for this, he refused to repent, and the Lord banished him, for he opposes the proud (4:6–13).
Peter himself illustrates God’s grace to the humble. Before the crucifixion, Peter proudly insisted that he, unlike the other disciples, was ready to go with Jesus to prison and death. Jesus told the disciples, “This very night you will all fall away” (Matt. 26:31), but Peter boasted, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.… Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you” (26:33, 35; cf. Luke 22:31–33). In his pride, Peter trusted himself, wandered into temptation unprepared, and denied Jesus three times. Yet afterward, Peter wept, repented, and declared anew his love for Jesus. So the Lord gave grace to him, a humbled man (Luke 22:62; John 21:15–17).
First Peter 5:6 continues, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” Peter does not say, “The Lord will humble you,” but “Humble yourselves.” The command “Humble yourselves” signifies that we don’t wait for God, an adversary, or the hardships of life to humble us. We must act on ourselves. Peter doesn’t specify how we humble ourselves, but the phrase “under God’s mighty hand” supplies a hint. The phrase “mighty hand” is common in Exodus, where God’s power delivered Israel from slavery and oppression in Egypt. God’s mighty hand defeated Pharaoh and humbled him, although he did not humble himself (Ex. 6:1; 13:3–16; Deut. 3:24; 4:34).
God’s strong hand also showed itself in the ministry of Jesus—in the miracles and above all in Jesus’ saving death and resurrection (Acts 4:28–30). As with Jesus, so also with the church, suffering leads to glory. God already has power to do what he now promises, that he will lift up his people at the right time.
The “due time” (1 Peter 5:6) or right time (Greek kairos) can be the moment that suits God’s purposes (Eph. 5:16). Or it can be the time of God’s great acts of redemption, including his return. First Peter 1:5b uses time in the second way. Even if we are uncertain when God will act, in this lifetime or later, when this age ends, he promises to restore the humble.
This was an essential promise as Peter’s churches endured the threat of harm. It remains a strong promise for Jesus’ people in every nation as they face hostility. We can respond to hardships, sorrows, and delay in God’s action in one of two ways. We can grumble and accuse God, or we can trust him. Peter exhorts his readers to take the second path. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Israel, sadly, often took the wrong path by grumbling against God. Consider the episode recounted in Exodus 17:1–7. Shortly after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, they ran out of water when they camped at Rephidim. The people quarreled with Moses, accusing him of bringing them out of Egypt to kill them. They also tested God, demanding that he act at once, when they issued a foolish ultimatum: “Is the Lord among us or not?” That is hardly the voice of someone who humbly waits for God to act. Of course, we can tell the Lord about our pains and losses. But we must remember that the Lord has a mighty hand, that he cares for us, and that he acts on his schedule. Believers wait for the Lord; they do not demand that he act at our word.
Pride and Humility
God granted humans dignity at creation, but that dignity is threatened by internal and external forces. If we grew up in an abusive home, or if our spouses, coworkers, or friends belittle us, we might need to reassert and restore our honor. But sin and selfishness readily corrupt the proper desire for respect. We seek glory, adulation, and domination. We become proud.
Peter spoke to the church in time of trial, to believers who knew the gospel. In their trial, Peter urged them to stay together and to clothe themselves with humility. The New Testament tells us to “put on” virtue several times (Rom. 13:12; Eph. 6:11–14; 1 Thess. 5:8). Peter’s term means “to tie something on”—as we tie on an apron to protect our clothes (see above). So we should wrap or drape ourselves in humility.
People are prone to feel slighted when their honor is questioned. Athletic teams constantly protest: “We get no respect. We’re going to show the world …” Political debates constantly play upon slights, real or imagined. A U.S. senator derides an amendment to a bill. Instead of saying, “Nothing substantive changed, so it’s as bad as ever,” he says, “That’s like putting lipstick on an ostrich.” Immediately, his rival declares that his state’s ostrich farmers are offended. When people ask, “Why wasn’t I chosen, informed, called, invited?” it could be the voice of pride complaining, “But I’m an important person!”
Pride can have more complex roots. A young man once told me about his battle with pride, saying something like this: “I grew up in a rough home. My parents constantly shouted and threatened. Sometimes they tried to hit us and sometimes they connected. My father was talented but addicted, so he was always losing one job, getting another, and moving on. That meant a new school, so I was an outsider. And since I was small, I was also a target for bullies. Between my parents and the bullies, I learned to give off a ‘Don’t mess with me’ aura. I acted tough and threatening, and got tattoos with knives and skulls. It became my identity. After I graduated and became a professional, the attitude seemed useful, even if I was shaking with fear. It was a facade, but I never tried to change until I met the Lord.” However our lives differ from this man’s, we get the point. To preserve our honor (or pride), many of us pretend to be someone we are not. We strike poses that convey strength and confidence. We might persuade others, but it’s dangerous if we persuade ourselves.
The gospel brings us low and lifts us up. The gospel brings us low because it leads us to confess that we are sinners. We have no hope, except in God’s sovereign mercy. It brings us low because it says that we can do nothing to redeem ourselves. We must wholly depend on Jesus, the Son of God, who died for our sins and was raised for our justification (Rom. 4:25). By his wounds we have been healed (1 Peter 2:24). The gospel exalts us because it demonstrates that the Lord sets great value on us and loves us. To come to the Lord as he is offered in the gospel is to be humbled and exalted. We become children of God, called with a purpose, and heirs of life. So let us wrap ourselves in humility. In that way we own the gospel and let it permeate our lives. As Peter says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (5:6).
6. Humble yourselves therefore. We must ever bear in mind for what end he bids us to be humble before God, even that we may be more courteous and kind to our brethren, and not refuse to submit to them as far as love demands. Then they who are haughty and refractory towards men, are, he says, acting insolently towards God. He therefore exhorts all the godly to submit to God’s authority; and he calls God’s power his hand, that he might make them to fear the more. For though hand is often applied to God, yet it is to be understood here according to the circumstances of the passage. But as we are wont commonly to fear, lest our humility should be a disadvantage to us, and others might for this reason grow more insolent, Peter meets this objection, and promises eminency to all who humble themselves.
But he adds, in due time, that he might at the same time obviate too much haste. He then intimates that it is necessary for us to learn humility now, but that the Lord well knows when it is expedient for us to be elevated. Thus it behoves us to yield to his counsel.
6 The quotation from Prov. 3:34 acts like a hinge, for while humility toward (and thus submission to) one another was the ostensible reason for the quotation, the verse mentions humility without qualification and moves the focus to God. This allows our author to turn the topic back to God and the suffering of his readers. He has already mentioned that persecution comes to faithful Christians according to God’s will (3:17), that it is not foreign to their existence as followers of Christ (4:12–16), and that it is in fact God’s purifying fire (4:17–19). If this is so, the duty of the believer is not to resist (either attacking the persecutors or raging against God), but to “humble [himself] under the mighty hand of God.” The concept of humbling oneself, of making oneself low, has already been noted in the previous verse. Jesus himself valued this attitude before God (Matt. 18:4; cf. Matt. 5:3, where “poor in spirit” is probably another way of expressing the underlying Hebraic concept of being God’s ʿānȋ or ʿᵃnāwȋm), so there is no surprise in discovering that his followers would also value it (however difficult it may be actually to live out). “God’s mighty hand” is also a good biblical image, deeply rooted in the OT. It was this “hand” that delivered Israel from Egypt (e.g., Exod. 3:19; 6:1; 13:3, 9, 14, 16; Deut. 9:26, 29; 26:8; Jer. 21:5; Ezek. 20:33–34), and it was this hand that was behind his works in the NT (Luke 1:66; Acts 4:28, 30; 11:21; 13:11), most of which are his signs and wonders, but some of which are his judgment (Acts 13:11), including the death of Jesus (Acts 4:28), which for Peter is archetypal for the suffering of the church. Thus they are to see God at work behind their suffering and submit, allowing themselves to be brought low, for his purpose is that “he may exalt you in due time.”
That humiliation leads to exaltation is a common theme of Scripture (e.g., 1 Sam. 2:7–8; Ezek. 17:24; Matt. 23:12; Luke 1:52; 14:11; 18:14; Jas. 1:9). God’s purposes are never simply to humiliate people, but that out of their coming low before him (often spoken of as a “death to self”) 4 he might exalt them in and with Christ. This he will do “in due time.” For Peter the due or opportune time is surely the return of Christ, the parousia, this expression here being a shortened form of that in 1:5. It is then that these folk will be vindicated, that their enemies will be judged, and that they will receive in exchange for their persecution that inheritance which is already waiting for them in heaven (1:3). This is indeed something worth humbling oneself for, for those who resist God (the proud) will never receive it.
5:6 / While the previous verse spoke of the expression of humility toward those who share the common faith, Peter now goes more deeply. The foundation of Christian humility is a dependent attitude toward God and his ability to rescue. That involves turning one’s attention away from self and away from circumstances, however pressing and however painful. The believer’s attitude must be one of taking it for granted that God’s hand remains in control of events. In the ot, the expression the mighty hand of God almost always refers to divine deliverance. His power to deliver can still be relied upon, says Peter, provided there is trust on the believer’s part. A drowning man must submit to the one who comes to his aid. If he struggles in his own strength to try to save himself—in effect in the pride of self-sufficiency—he is likely to defeat the best efforts of his would-be rescuer, who in the end may even have to disable him before getting him to safety.
Trust in divine deliverance will be rewarded in due time, not necessarily with the immediacy that one often craves in distress, but at the divinely right moment, as God sees the whole situation. Certainly at the end of days (1:5; 2:12), the believer’s trust will be justified and the persecutor’s stance exposed as one of opposition to almighty God himself.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2004). 1 Peter (pp. 277–279). Chicago: Moody Publishers.
 Doriani, D. M. (2014). 1 Peter. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 218–226). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.
 Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (pp. 148–149). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 Davids, P. H. (1990). The First Epistle of Peter (pp. 185–187). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
 Hillyer, N. (2011). 1 and 2 Peter, Jude (p. 145). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.