October 22, 2023

by Gary Bonikowsky

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, STABLISH, STRENGTHEN, SETTLE you. (1 Peter 5:10)

I was sitting in my favourite chair one cold, clear winter’s morning meditating (i.e. looking out the window) when I noticed a bright rainbow falling across a page of the open Bible lying next to me. It was from the prism in the window and was illuminating a previously outlined but long forgotten passage of scripture -- 1 Peter 5:10.

Now, I may be a little slow on the uptake, but even I couldn't help but wonder if someone was trying to get a message across to me. Regardless, it made for a remarkable picture, so I got up, grabbed my camera and took a photo of it before the 'finger of God' moved on. And then I read it... and reread it. And I have been rereading it ever since, for there are some mighty big and powerful promises packed into that one small verse -- "called unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus"... "make you perfect".

Powerful stuff.

I mean, this was significant. It’s amazing how something that suddenly seemed so vital and foundational could be hidden for years in plain view. But I knew there was something in it for me, so I committed it to memory and made that photo the 'desktop' on my laptop as a perpetual reminder of its significance. It's been in my face every time I open this laptop ever since and I'd often stop once again to ponder these sublime words and encourage myself in them.

As I've pondered them lately, I find my attention has become focused on those last three words STABLISH, STRENGTHEN, SETTLE. Powerful words indeed -- especially that last one, SETTLE. That's the one that has really grabbed me lately. Why? I suppose because that has been for so long my heart’s deepest desire — to be SETTLED.  Isn't that what we all want -- to be fixed and settled into the reality of our inseparable union in Christ? Thank God, by His grace and by His doing we are.

But as I most recently pondered those three words I saw something that I had never seen before. There is not only a progression here, but one that correlates to the apostle John's three stages of consciousness in our growing awareness of who we are in Christ -- children, young men and fathers. (1 John 2: 12-14) We are "STABLISHED" at our new birth in Christ.

We are "STRENGTHENED" as we progress onward through the young man stage, overcoming obstacles -- the largest being our false sense of independent selfhood inherited from the fall.

But we are "SETTLED" only when we arrive at the fatherhood level where we "know Him who is from the beginning". We have finally found our eternal dwelling place in Him. We have become what Christ died, rose and ascended to make us. We are SETTLED, by the life of the Holy Spirit that He sent to indwell, instruct and empower us -- indeed, to express his life by us. We are often battered and tempted to believe otherwise, but we have become settled and IMOVEABLE in Him -- that we might "live to the praise of the glory of his grace". (Eph. 1:6)

I like that.