Peter’s Postscript – 1 Peter 5:12-14

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1 Peter 5:12-14

Well, one final time; let me invite you to take your copy of God’s Word and turn with me to 1 Peter 5. We made it. Or, rather, you made it. You hung into the very end, and you didn’t kill me in the process. I don’t know your feelings about 1 Peter, of course, but I’ve very much enjoyed our time together – running our fingers through the pages of this epistle.

When we come to the end of 1 Peter, as we have today, what we find is essentially a postscript. Last week we concluded with the doxology that is found in verse 11, and really that ends all that Peter has to say to the believers who have been persecuted and alienated and are dispersed throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. And I was tempted to just skip over these verses, until I began thinking about the importance of a P.S. at the end of a letter. The P.S.’s can make all the difference in the world. Like the fellow who wrote to his girlfriend:


I love you so much. I would climb the highest mountain, swim the widest ocean, and cross the burning desert just to be with you. I will see you on Saturday.

P.S. …if it’s not raining

The P.S. made all the difference to the mushy, romantic expressions of love that came before. Or how about this one:

Dear Fred,

Seldom have we had such an employee of quality and consistency, as you. For productivity you’re hard to beat. As a team player you’re an example to all. As the year ends, we want to acknowledge the fine job you’ve done.

Sincerely, the District Manager

P.S. You’re fired.

See, you have to be careful with the P.S.’s, and here, in verses 12-14, not only do we have an apt summary of what Peter has written, but we also find three foundational elements of genuine Christian experience. Follow along with me as I read our final verses.

12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. 13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

“O Lord, Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Give us grace to receive Your truth in faith and love, and strength to follow on the path You set before us; through Jesus Christ, Amen.”

The first foundational element of genuine Christian experience is…


We spoke about this last week when we considered the God of all grace. So, why talk about it again? Because our Christian experience is marked by it. Loved ones, grace is the sum and substance of our faith. That is to say; you cannot call yourself a Christian if you haven’t received God’s grace. You can come to church (and I want you to), you can help build a house for a homeless person (and I pray you might), you can speak kindly and lovingly to your neighbor (as you should), but unless and until you recognize the sinful and heinous nature of your heart and life before a holy God and cast yourself upon the mercy and love of Jesus Christ, which is grace, you are not a Christian. There must be a genuine surrender of ourselves to God’s grace.

It’s so fundamental that Peter talks about it in every chapter of this short letter. 1 Peter 1:2, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” Question: Peter, how might I experience this grace and peace? Answer: 1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” That’s grace. And what’s more, it’s also the gospel. It’s the Good News.

Like any good pastor, Peter closes this letter and says, “Folks, if you’ve heard nothing else that I’ve said, if you’ve not paid attention to any of the 105 verses that I’ve written, then please hear this; what is contained in this piece of mail is nothing but the TRUE… GRACE… of GOD.” There’s absolutely no doubt in Peter’s mind concerning it, and he wants his readers to be absolutely convinced about it too. And I, as the pastor of this church, want you, the flock, to be in no doubt concerning it either.

I don’t want you to walk out into another Monday believing that your Christian experience fights for its place on the vast array of religious opportunity. I want you to walk out into another Monday realizing that you, by God’s goodness, have been introduced to THE… TRUE… GRACE… of GOD. And until that becomes the conviction of our hearts, we’ll never be able to communicate it to a world that’s in desperate need of it.

Peter talks about grace in chapter 1:3. He talks about it in chapter 2:24, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” He talks about it in chapter 3:18, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” Again, and again, and again. Over and over and over again, Peter reminds us of the significance of the grace of God. No one here, today, knows anything of a genuine Christian experience unless you’ve made the discovery of Amazing Grace.


Next is the priority of love. Peter says, “Greet one another with the kiss of love.” Some of you are getting excited. “Oh boy, I didn’t know we were called to kiss one another. What’s that all about?” Well, Jesus established the standard of love that we’re all called to live by. John 13:34 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Yes, I understand that, but back to the kissing thing. Where does that come into play?

Well, it was a custom of the Jews. It was normal for a disciple to kiss the cheek of his Rabbi and to lay his hands upon his shoulders. It was customary. Some of you have seen this. Both hands would be placed on the shoulders of the person in front of you and you would simply kiss them on the cheek. Hence Mark 14:44, when Jesus and the disciples are in the Garden of Gethsemane, we hear Judas’ instructions, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize Him and lead Him away under guard.” It was customary for disciples to kiss their Rabbi, and this was Judas’ way of identifying Jesus to the authorities.

And as the pattern developed in the early church, it became part and parcel of Christian worship. The inward recognition of the grace of God upon someone’s life would lead to this external expression, and both Tertullian and Augustine refer to it. However, like expressions of love often do, it began to be abused, and another early church father, Athenagoras insists in his writings that the kiss must be given with the greatest care for “if there be mixed with it the least defilement of thought it excludes us from eternal life.” Clement of Alexandria, writing only about 75 years later, condemned the shameless use of it saying, “certain persons make the churches resound and thereby occasion foul suspicions and evil reports.”

By the 4th century, this kiss of love, was reserved for people of the same sex. And by the time of the 13th century the custom was tossed out altogether. The western equivalent is essentially a handshake, and probably safer all-round. The obligation to love is timeless, but the expression of it will vary with time and culture.


Finally, peace with God. At the center of this idea is Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The expression of this peace is found in Philippians 4:7, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” But we can’t experience that peace until we’ve been made right with God by means of Jesus – the Prince of Peace. Colossians 1:19-20 says, “For in Him [Jesus] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him [Jesus] to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.”

As the midterm elections are looming, there are so many voices expressing anxiety and uncertainty and fear. People longing for peace. And I’m not talking about the ceasing of wars and violence. I’m referring to the inner turmoil, the inner anguish of hearts and minds. Many are searching for peace, but they’re trying to do it without God, without acknowledging sin and their need of a Savior. Loved ones, I tell you it can’t be done. Jesus, Himself, testified that it’s impossible to find lasting, meaningful peace, apart from Him. John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.” And Peter confirms this in the final sentence of this letter – a letter written to those in need of a reminder of the peace that we have (notice the last phrase) “Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” No peace without Jesus.

One commentator put it like this, “No one can enjoy real peace apart from Him, and all may enjoy it who belong to Him.” But this last sentence also poses a question: are you “in Christ?” Not, “are you in church?” Not, “do you know about Jesus?” But are you “in Christ?” Is this not a message for us to proclaim over the next 7 days (and beyond)? How can I come to terms with the living God? (Answer: grace.) How may I live in genuine relationship with people around me? (Answer: love.) How may I come to terms with myself as I make my journey through this life? (Answer: peace.) Three postscripts from Peter. Three essential elements of genuine Christian experience. Are they yours this morning? They can be.