1 Peter 5:5-7
Likewise, you younger, submit yourselves to the elder. Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility…
I. First, our text is evidently intended to bear upon us IN OUR CHURCH LIFE. Each one of us should think little of himself and highly of his brethren.
1. True humility in our Church relationship will show itself in our being willing to undertake the very lowest offices for Christ.
2. The next point of humility is that we are conscious of our own incompetence to do anything aright. Self-sufficiency is inefficiency. He that has no sense of his weakness has a weakness in his sense.
3. This humility will show itself next in this — that we shall be willing to be ignored of men.
4. We want humility in our Church life, in the sense of never being rough, haughty, arrogant, hard, domineering, lordly; or, on the other hand, factious, unruly, quarrelsome, and unreasonable.
II. Now I will use the text in reference to OUR BEHAVIOUR IN OUR AFFLICTIONS. Frequently our heavenly Father's design in sending trial to His children is to make and keep them humble; let us remember this, and learn a lesson of wisdom. The most hopeful way of avoiding the humbling affliction is to humble yourself. Be humble that you may not be humbled.
1. And do this, first, by noticing whether you have been guilty of any special sin of pride. Usually our sins lie at the roots of our sorrows. If we will repent of the sin, the Lord will remove the sorrow.
2. In your affliction humble yourself by confessing that you deserve all that you are suffering.
3. But, more than that, humble yourself so as to submit entirely to God's will. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in this act of self-humiliation while you meekly kiss the rod.
III. IN OUR DAILY DEALINGS WITH GOD, whether in affliction or not, let us humble ourselves under His hand, for so only can we hope to be exalted. It is a blessed thing whenever you come to God to come wondering that you are allowed to come, wondering that you have been led to come; marvelling at Divine redemption, astonished that such a price should have been paid that you might be brought nigh to God. Let grace be magnified by your grateful heart.
1. When you are doing this be very humble before God, because you have not made more improvement of the grace that He has given you.
2. Next, humble yourself under the hand of God by feeling your own want of knowledge whenever you come to God. Do not think that you understand all divinity. There is only one body of divinity, and that is Christ Himself; and who knoweth Him to the full?
3. One point concerning which I should like every one of us to humble ourselves under the hand of God is about our little enjoyment of Divine things.
IV. I finish by using my text with all earnestness in reference to the unconverted IN OUR SEEKING FORGIVENESS AS SINNERS. Do you want to be saved? The way of salvation is, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ." "But," you say, "I cannot understand it." Yet it is very simple; no hidden meaning lies in the words; you are simply bidden to trust Jesus. If, however, you feel as if you could not do that, let me urge you to go to God ill secret and own the sin of this unbelief; for a great sin it is. Humble yourself. Sit down and think over the many ways in which you have done wrong, or failed to do right. Pray God to break you down with deep penitence. When your sin is confessed, then acknowledge that if justice were carried out towards you, apart from undeserved grace, you would be sent to hell. You have almost obtained mercy when you have fully submitted to justice. Then, next, accept God's mercy in His own way. Do not be so vain as to dictate to God how you ought to be saved. Be a little child, and come and believe in the salvation which is revealed in Jesus Christ. "Ah," say you, "I have done this, but I cannot get peace." Then sink lower down. Did I hear you say, "Alas, sir, I want to get comfort"? Do not ask for comfort; ask for forgiveness, and that blessing may come through your greater discomfort. Sink lower down. There is a point at which God will surely accept you, and that point is lower down. "Oh," you say, "I think I have a due sense of sin." That will not do. I want you to feel that you have not a due sense of sin, and come to Jesus just so. "Oh, but I do think that I have been brokenhearted." I should like to see you lower than that, till you cry, "I am afraid I never knew what it is to be brokenhearted." I want you to sink so low that you cannot say anything good of yourself; nay, nor see an atom of goodness in yourself. Come before God a criminal, in the prison dress, with the rope about your neck. You will be saved then.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: Likewise, you younger ones, be subject to the elder. Yes, all of you clothe yourselves with humility, to subject yourselves to one another; for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."