Saturday, July 3, 2010

1 Peter 1:2

Thought I'd abandoned this line of thought, didn't you?  Not quite.

I'd like to focus on the closing line of Peter's greeting: "May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure."  (1 Peter 1:2)

What is he talking about here?  Well, let's break it down.  I'm seeing, as us preachers are typically taught to see, 3 major points:

1.  Grace:  Grace is being treated differently than we deserve to be.  Too often we are caught up in our own rights and privileges, as if we have earned these.  Whether we take God's word for it or Jefferson's, our rights are ours not by merit or effort, but by the endowment of our Creator.  Now, certain rights are secured by the efforts of mankind, but others are not subject to human effort at all, but come only through the work of God.  This is the grace of God: that for the rights we need, He provides them.  What right is that?  For the image of God in all of us to be loosed to come out past the corruption of sin.  This is grace. 

2.  Peace: not just absence of external conflict.  First, absence of internal conflict: the victory of the work of the Holy Spirit within us over the effects of sin to block us from the Word of God.  Second, the absence of conflict with our fellow man: the combined effort we strike forward to expand the Kingdom of God ought to put us at peace with our fellow followers of Christ.  Consider this: if you ever watched "Band of Brothers" on HBO about the 101st Airborne, all of the personality conflicts faded when the enemy bullets started flying.  We live in the presence, always, of our mission.  When we get done, we'll have time and energy to bicker.  Of course, my reading of the end of the book is that we won't want to, but that's another matter.  Finally, and most importantly, we're talking about absence of conflict with God.  We've been His enemies.  No longer.  We're on His side.

And peace goes a step deeper: above, I've called it all "absence of conflict."  It's really not.  It's the presence of right relationship.  If you have any relationships, you know the difference, and the blessing of real peace.  It's not just that my wife and I aren't fighting.  It's that we're all the way okay with each other.  I wouldn't call myself at "peace" with President Obama, but neither am I at "war" with him.  We're not in any personal relationship at all.  This is the peace Peter's talking about: a personal level of peace, not merely a legal or technical peace.  A personal state of having a right relationship.

3.  Yours in Fullest Measure:  By the work of God, we have these 2 things, grace and peace, without deficit.  There is no follower of Christ that must do without grace from God or peace with God.  We often choose to neglect these things, especially peace with our fellow believers, but we don't have to do so.  They are yours, they are ours to have.  Not just enough, but the fullest measure. 


Let's focus on this.  It's a good thing.



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