#7 GRACE AND PEACE BE YOURS

Peter concludes the introduction to his first letter by wishing his readers ‘grace and peace’ ... ‘Grace and peace be yours in abundance’ [1Peter 1:3]. In his second letter he expands this benediction ‘... grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord’ [2Peter 1:2].

Both Paul and Peter understand the significance of these two concepts of grace and peace:

Those who believe in Christ are ‘justified freely by his grace’ [Romans 3:24].

Because God’s promise is by grace it is guaranteed for all who believe [Romans 4:16].

Believers have peace with God [Romans 5:1].

Believers are reconciled to God through the death of Christ [Romans 5:10].

Because of God’s abundant provision of grace those who believe reign in life [Romans 5:17].

Grace is far more abundant than sin [Romans 5:20].

Grace, not sin, reigns [Romans 5:21].

The riches of God’s grace have been lavished upon those who believe in Christ [Ephesians 1:7,8].

The riches of God’s grace are incomparable [Ephesians 2:7].

‘Peace’ is a one-word summary of the Gospel [Ephesians 2:17].

God made peace through the blood of Christ [Colossians 1:20].

The grace of God brings salvation [Titus 2:11].

The Old Testament prophets spoke of ‘the grace that was to come’ [1Peter 1:10].

Believers are ‘heirs ... of ... grace’ [1Peter 3:7].

Grace is multifaceted [1Peter 4:10].

It is this amazing, immeasurable grace, and this sure, established peace with God that Peter wants his readers to understand and, having understood, to enjoy. He is not praying that his readers will be personally gracious. He is not praying that his readers will have an emotional feeling of peace.

Rather he knows that -

the more we understand who God is,

the more we understand who Jesus Christ is,

the more we understand what God the Father has done through the death and resurrection of Christ the Son,

then the more we will understand and rest in the grace and peace of which the Gospel speaks.

Because the grace and the peace that he wants us to have in abundance is grounded in the knowledge of God and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Herein is grace, and herein is peace: that God sent his Son to die for sinners, to bear their punishment, so that we, the sinners, may be reconciled to him. That is the grace, the gift. And that grace, that gift, is peace with God. No more condemnation. No more judgement. No more wrath. No more enmity. Instead, peace.

This grace, this peace, are freely given to all who believe in Christ.

As Paul urged his Corinthians readers: let us not receive this indescribable gift ‘in vain’ [2Corinthians 6:1]. Rather, as Peter wishes upon us, may we grasp hold of the truth of Jesus Christ and his death in such a way that we live each moment with sure and certain assurance of the reality and permanence of God’s abundant grace and God’s abundant peace given to us in Jesus Christ our Lord!

© Rosemary Bardsley 2017