Grace and Peace

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Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,

2 Peter 1:2 (NKJV)

That this devotional exists at all is a testimony to the grace and peace of God. He has enabled this devotional to be prepared and posted in the daily chaos of a surgical ward in hospital. I have almost no internet or phone connectivity but somehow Father’s provision of grace has been sufficient to get this message out.

Grace. This was a regular greeting for almost all first-century letters. It was basically the same as our beginning a letter with Hello. It was in the hands of the apostles like Paul and Peter that a whole new range of meaning was added to the greeting. Both Paul and Peter were aware that their letters were going to churches with a mix of Jewish and Greek background believers. For the Greeks ‘charis’ or grace, for the Jews, ‘shalom’ peace. Both of these words are the normal ‘hello’ type greeting in Greece and Israel to this day. Put together in the New Testament, these words impart an almost unbelievably powerful blessing from the very beginning of every letter the apostles wrote.

Bob Gass put it very nicely, “This verse is not just a greeting, it’s a promise! One of the best definitions of grace is “all of God you’ll ever need for anything you’ll ever face.” God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Corinthians 12:9). When you have Him, you have it all! And what about His peace? It’s a state of “being” where you are not anxious or afraid anymore. You stop striving because God has everything under control. You may be surrounded by circumstances, but you are not controlled by them. David said, “Great peace have they which love Thy Law; and nothing shall offend them” (Psalms 119:165).”

All this and we have not yet got past ‘hello’. Peter goes on to write that these amazing gifts be multiplied to you. Multiplied blessings of grace, more and more grace, more grace is available freely to us to deal with any and every situation that life can throw at us. Multiplied peace, the Jewish word shalom, carries a range of meanings all of them good. The best summary that I ever heard was ‘nothing missing, nothing broken’ when this is applied in every area of one’s life, it includes health, finances, relationships, and family.

As we then proceed to put verse 2 into context, the great English bible scholar Tom Wright takes the idea a little further, he writes, “The big picture is what God wants for his people. All too often, people think that ‘religion’, or even ‘Christian faith’, is about what God wants from us—good behaviour, renunciation of things we like, a gritted-teeth morality of forcing ourselves to behave unnaturally. This is a total caricature. Here, in this breathtaking paragraph from verses 3 to 11, we see the truth.”

That whole paragraph is a little beyond the scope of this devotional, so lets’ just look at these verses:-

2 Peter 1:3–4 (NKJV)

as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Tom wright continues, “First, God has already given us everything we need: a starter kit, if you like, for all that we need to become (verse 3). There is indeed quite a lot in this letter about the moral effort we have to make. But Peter is quite clear. It all comes from God in the first place.

Second, he wants nothing less for us than that we should come to share his own very nature (verse 4). Some Christians have felt uneasy about this idea, as though the humility to which we are so often exhorted ought to stop us short from thinking of actually sharing God’s very being or nature. Others, though (particularly in the Eastern Christian traditions), have seen this as central to what it means to be a Christian. After all, if we say that the holy spirit is fully divine, and if we say that the holy spirit comes to live within us and transform us from within, what is that but to say that the divine nature is already dwelling within us, leading us forward until we are suffused with God’s own presence and power? Obviously for most of us, most of the time, it won’t feel like that. But that may be because we are not yet adept at recognizing what actually happens when God takes up residence in someone’s life…

All this is just the outer framework for this remarkable passage, but it is all the more important because it shows that whatever we do by way of obedience and allegiance to God and the gospel, it all takes place within the grace of God, by means of the promise of God, through the power of God, and leading to the kingdom of God. That’s a great place to start.[1]

The Last word with Bob Gass

You’ll notice God didn’t say He will add these things to you, He said he would multiply them. God doesn’t add—He multiplies! You may ask, “How do grace and peace come?” Through the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ our Lord. There’s the key: getting to know Him better. You may say, “I need to find myself!” I can assure you, there’s no peace in that. Jesus said, “The flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). He told the woman at the well, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst” (John 4:13).

The way to know someone is to spend time with them! Have you spent time with Him today![2]

[1] Tom Wright, Early Christian Letters for Everyone: James, Peter, John and Judah, For Everyone Bible Study Guides (London; Louisville, KY: SPCK; Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), 102–103.

[2] Bob Gass, A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998), 327.

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