Finally, the apostle proceeded to strengthen his brethren for conflict. The first matter dealt with was the general orderliness of the Church. He enjoined the elders that they care for the flock. Their office is twofold, to attend or feed, and to keep watchful oversight. They are not to lord it over the flock, but are to serve the flock, not, indeed, as under the authority of the flock, but under that of the Lord and Master, the Chief Shepherd. The younger are to be in subjection, and that is ever in the Church of God the place of honour. Let there be humility, and beyond that no anxiety, for “God careth.”
Having thus dealt with the orderliness of the Church, the apostle turned to the conflict. The adversary is named, and his method is described. He is neither careless nor neutral. His business is the destruction of all good. He is seeking whom he may devour. The attitude of the Christian toward this foe is to be soberness, and watchfulness, actual conflict, steadfastness in faith. The soldier must never be off duty. Seeking the enemy must be answered by watching the saint. Moreover, there must be actual fighting, and that can be only as the soldier stands firm and strong in faith.
A very beautiful incentive to fighting is given in conclusion. We are not alone. Our brethren in the world are all fighting. Our battle is not our own merely. It is theirs also. They fight for us, and we for them. Our defeat harms them as well as ourselves. The epistle closes with some personal words, and the final benediction of peace.