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…
Humility is that Christian virtue without which no other can exist, and by which every other is beautified, for, whilst the flowers of all the Christian graces grow in the shade of the Redeemer's Cross, the root of them is humility.
I. HUMILITY BECOMES US AS CREATURES. It may also be remarked that the temptation to pride, and consequently the exercise of humility, has very much to do with a comparative view of ourselves and others. It is not in the superiority which we possess over the inferior creatures that we are apt either to exaggerate the difference or to forget that it is from God, but it is in the little advantage which one man may happen to possess above another, whether in mental endowments, bodily powers, or worldly wealth. It is this minor distinction, the comparative difference between man and man, which excites envy in one party and creates haughtiness in another. But the judgment of humility is according to truth. This is the spirit of humility which, like the flower blooming in the valley, delights the eye of the contemplative, who, forgetting the gaudier plants of the garden, finds nothing to charm him so much as the simple beauties of nature.
II. HUMILITY BECOMES US AS SINNERS.
III. HUMILITY BECOMES US AS DISCIPLES OF CHRIST.
1. They must retain a humbling remembrance of past sins. Those sins, though forgiven by Jehovah, must not be forgotten by them, that they may see what they are in themselves, and understand how much they owe to redeeming love.
2. The Christian must also continually watch the state of his heart.
3. Whatever measures of holiness the Christian attains to, he must always remember that by the grace of God he is what he is. Thus all boasting is excluded, for he has nothing but what he has received.
4. There will always, whilst we are on the earth, remain much to be done, much to be attained. Every grace will be defective in measure and mixed with infirmity. The most faultless disciple will here find cause for humiliation. Conclusion:
1. What a delightful character is the man of distinguished humility. He may not have the glory in which the patriot, the hero, or the martyr is enshrined, but he is adorned with the beauties of holiness; he carries about with him the majesty of goodness, if not the dominion of greatness.
2. Learn from this subject to beware of false humility. True humility is diffident and retiring; it is not like the scentless flower, which turns its face to the sun throughout his course, as if for the purpose of being seen, but it is rather like the modest violet, which hides itself in obscurity, and sends forth fragrance from its deep retirement. It employs no herald, it unfolds no banner, it blows no trumpet, but, whilst conferring substantial benefits, it desires to be like the angels, who, while ministering to the heirs of salvation, are unseen and unknown by the objects of their attention.
3. Learn also, while you avoid false humility, to labour for that which is real. Let the young labour for this. Christian humility will teach you the most willing obedience, the most genuine affection, the most respectful demeanour towards your parents, and it will excite you to the most anxious endeavours for the promotion of their happiness. Let not the old neglect this spirit of humility. Do not aggravate the sorrows of your evil days by pride, by peevishness, or by discontent. When almost every leaf is gone from the rose of life, let not its thorns remain. Let parents manifest much of this temper in the treatment of their children. Always endeavour to persuade before you attempt to compel. This is the way to grow in grace, for "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."
(T. Gibson, M. A.)
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."