SUFFERING SAINTS PRAYING TO THE GOD OF ALL GRACE
NEW TESTAMENT APPLICATION FROM JOB’S EXPERIENCES
1Pe 5:10 “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
We have spent the last five weeks learning about the “God of all grace”, in the life of Job.
By looking at key texts in the spiritual journey of a suffering giant we have observed the handiwork of God:
Blessed be the Name of the Lord; Job’s Confession of Faith
“Naked came I out of my mother\’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
My Redeemer Liveth; Job’s Hope in Christ
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth”
I Shall Come Forth As Gold; Job’s Trust in a Sovereign God
“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold”
God in the Whirlwind; Job’s Experience with God
“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind…”
Dust and Ashes; Job’s New Beginning
“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
This text from Peter, does much more than supply us with the title for this series of studies. Peter’s words can be interpreted as a commentary on the life of Job. This suffering saint was perfected, stablished. strengthened and settled by the God of all grace in his affliction. While Job’s personal sorrows were extreme in their uniqueness – sorrow and suffering are not unique. Quite the contrary – they are normal human experiences in a broken world. Therefore Peter’s words are as relevant for 21st Century believers as they were for 1st Century Christians. As sorrow and pain remain a feature of human life, so the God of all grace remains our constant and cherished companion.
Peter’s words are a prayer, a prayer to the God of all grace which is full of faith and promise. The prayers of the apostles are valuable in that they are the inspired utterances of the Holy Spirit. Such prayers can be claimed and recited with faith by every believing heart as they are prayers that are agreeable to the will of God.
SUFFERING SAINTS PRAYING TO THE GOD OF ALL GRACE
1: Praying to be Perfected
The word perfected, while it means to make whole, carries the idea of repairing or mending. For example when Jesus found the fishermen mending their nets (Matthew 4:21) this is the verb employed.
It easy to see how this applies to Job – his life was broken by grief and trauma but his latter end was greater than his beginning, because the Healer intervened.
Whatever our brokenness, our sorrow, our pain, our failure may be – we can trust the mending and restoring power of the God of all grace.
2: Praying to be Stablished
This verb is very close in meaning to the verb translated stedfast, used by Peter earlier in this passage.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, Whom resist stedfast in the faith…” (1st Peter 5:8-9).
The word stedfast, linked to the attack of Satan, depicted as a roaring lion, highlights the reality of Christian warfare. While we are under attack, God will give us the strength to be stedfast. However weak we may feel ourselves to be, there is power flowing from the God of all grace to make us strong and stedfast in the faith.
This is the same word that Peter heard from the lips of Christ, when his days of testing at the hands of Satan were predicted:
“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32).
Peter, through his failings, brought about by human pride, was equipped to strengthen his brothers, only because Christ’s prayers had stablished him. We are not stedfast through our own convictions and resolve, only through the God of all grace. A lesson that must be learned and relearned!
3: Praying to be Strengthened
This verb, translated “strengthen”, while it appears to be similar to that which is translated “stablish”, is a different word. This is a unique Greek verb, at least unique in the New Testament, employed in only one other place:
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16).
The context in which Paul uses the word, also in a prayer, gives us the clue to the meaning, spiritual strength in the heart and soul, given by the Holy Ghost.
This is the strength that matters ; this is true power, that surpasses all physical energy. The power of the Spirit alone, can make the weakest, feeblest Christian strong in days of great trouble.
4: Praying to be Settled
The word “settled” refers to a foundation. It is employed in Matthew 7:25, of the wise man’s house which was founded upon the rock:
“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”
The word is linked to the verb “rooted” employed in Paul’s great prayer in Ephesians 3:
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:17).
A house that is grounded on the rock survives the storms and a plant that is rooted lives and will therefore produce foliage, flowers and fruit.
We often use the metaphor “grounded” to describe a Christian who is solid, dependable and certain. This grounding is drawn from the foundation of faith upon which a person rests, Christ alone.
To be rooted is another metaphor we could use to describe such a Christian life. The rooted Christian will produce evidence of that life by his or her conduct and Christ likeness.
Both the foundation and the root are hidden. Yet the hidden aspect is the source of strength and fruitfulness. So it is in the Christian life – if the hidden life is not proper, the outward life will be unsure.
Yet this hidden life, this grounding and rooting comes from God; the God of all grace. Job had a hidden life that was solid, therefore he survived and was victorious as the storms raged. His spiritual life stood firm and he continues to bless our souls today. This is testament to the power of the God of all grace.
Let us pray today that these graces would be perfected in our hearts. Claim the promise, step into victory:
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”