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Grace and Peace Be Yours…In Abundance 2 Peter 1:2

18 Aug

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge  of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2)

Jesus proclaimed early in His ministry the intentions of all actions toward mankind: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10).

God never holds back in giving to His children! He lavishes love upon each of us, and is the giver of only good and perfect gifts! He never wants us to stop asking (and being thankful) through prayer and wants our praise to be often, loud and from the heart.

What is it that God gives to us so generously? Grace: giving us that which we do not deserve. Mercy: not giving us what we do deserve.

Grace and peace is a common Christian greeting in the epistles, combining Greek and Hebrew salutations. However, the phrase is more than a salutation to Peter. He sees grace and peace as blessings that spring from the knowledge of God and Jesus. The Greek word translated knowledge is a key word in this letter. It describes a special kind of knowledge, a kind that is complete. Since our knowledge of Jesus grows as we mature in the faith, we will experience His grace and peace on many different occasions in our Christian walk.

The plain and emphatic thesis of the divine word is that the Christian graces can become part of a human life only as that life is related to the power and nature of God in Christ (2 Pet 1:3-4).  There is a vast difference between “the corruption that is in the world by lust” and “the divine nature.”  We must have been delivered out of kingdom of darkness, freed from sin through the blood of Christ, to be able to develop the “divine nature.”

The Christian personality is not the cause of man’s pardon from sin, but is the result of it. One cannot develop a nature like Christ while still living in sin.

Grace (charis) means the undeserved favor and blessings of God. The word undeserved is the key to understanding grace. Man does not deserve God’s favor; he cannot earn God’s approval and blessings. God is too high and man is too low for man to deserve anything from God. Man is imperfect and God is perfect; therefore, man cannot expect anything from God.

Man deserves nothing from God except judgment, condemnation, and punishment. But God is love—perfect and absolute love. Therefore, God makes it possible for man to experience His grace, in particular the favor and blessing of salvation which is in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Peace (eirene) means to be bound, joined, and woven together. It also means to be bound, joined, and woven together with others and with God. It means to be assured, confident, and secure in the love and care of God. A person can experience true peace only as he comes to know Jesus Christ. Only Christ can bring peace to the human heart, the kind of peace that brings deliverance and assurance to the human soul.

Note that Jesus Christ multiplies grace and peace. He gives an abundance of grace and peace; He causes grace and peace to overflow in the life of the genuine believer. There is never to be a lack of grace and peace in the life of any true believer. Every believer is to always be overflowing with joy, with the favor and blessings of God and with peace within his own spirit and with God and others.

A city dweller moved to a farm and bought a cow. Shortly after he did, the cow went dry. When he reported this fact to a neighbor farmer, the farmer expressed surprise. The city man said he was surprised too. “I can’t understand it either, for if ever a person was considerate of an animal, I was of that cow. If I didn’t need any milk, I didn’t milk her. If I only needed a quart, I only took a quart.” The farmer tried to explain that the only way to keep milk flowing is not to take as little as possible from the cow, but to take as much as possible.

Is that not also true of the Christian life? Those who only turn to God in need miss the real joy that flows from a daily infilling of His Spirit.

A man must completely despair of himself in order to become fit to obtain the grace of Christ. Abounding sin is the terror of the world, but abounding grace is the hope of mankind.

As mercy is God’s goodness confronting human misery and guilt, so grace is his goodness directed toward human debt and demerit.[1]

Grace and peace are to come from knowledge, the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  This is a strengthened form of “knowledge” implying a larger, more thorough, and intimate knowledge. The Christian’s precious faith is built on knowing the truth about God (cf. v. 3). Christianity is not a mystical religion, but is based in objective, historical, revealed, rational truth from God and intended to be understood and believed. The deeper and wider that knowledge of the Lord, the more “grace and peace” are multiplied.[2]

Closely related to the emphasis on man’s poverty and God’s provisions is the important role of knowledge. Knowledge is referred to in verses 2, 3, 5, 6, and 8. Whenever man departs from God and from divine revelation, he is ignorant. Ignorance is the opposite of knowledge, and it is deadly.

Peter told the Jews that when they murdered and disowned the Holy and Righteous One, the Prince of life, they acted in ignorance (Acts 3:14-17). Likewise, the idolatry of the pagan Athenians was ignorant (Acts 17:23, 30). Paul speaks of the ignorant unbelief of the Jews (Romans 10:3) and of his own ignorance as a persecutor of the church (1 Timothy 1:13).

Peter has written in his first epistle that ignorance is evident in conforming to one’s lusts, while implying that knowledge leads to obedience (1 Peter 1:14). Peter also indicates that the resistance of unbelievers springs from ignorance (1 Peter 2:15). Later in 2 Peter we are told that false teachers are willfully ignorant of the reality of divine judgment in history (2 Peter 3:5). Ignorance is not bliss; it is death.

The New Testament instructs us that the cure for ignorance is knowledge. This is doctrinal knowledge, for it certainly is knowledge of God and knowledge from God. It is scriptural knowledge, and it is true knowledge as opposed to false knowledge. This is the knowledge that protects the believer from false teachers and their teaching.

This knowledge is also the means by which grace and peace are multiplied to us (2 Peter 1:2). Everything pertaining to life and godliness is granted to us through the knowledge of Him who called us (1:3). Knowledge is one of the virtues the Christian should diligently pursue (1:5, 6).

The knowledge of which Peter writes is the knowledge of God as taught by the divinely revealed Word of God. It is also doctrinal knowledge, a propositional knowledge. Some tell us they do not worship doctrine—they worship Jesus. But, apart from doctrine, we cannot know which Jesus we worship.

The maturing Christian is marked by his knowledge of God through the Scriptures (see Ephesians 1:15-23; 4:13; Philippians 1:9; Colossians 1:9-10; 2:2; 3:10; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:25; 3:7; Titus 1:1).

Knowledge can be perverted so that it becomes the enemy of love (see 1 Corinthians 8:1). Ideally, knowledge informs and regulates love (Philippians 1:9) and promotes godly living (Colossians 1:9-10). Godly teaching and instruction leads to love (1 Timothy 1:5). We see from the Scriptures that knowledge of God leads to intimate fellowship with God (Philippians 3:10).

Do you “know God,” or are you still ignorant? The way to know God is through His written Word and through the Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us about God, and the Lord Jesus revealed God to us in human flesh. He is God, manifested in human flesh; He died in our place and suffered the penalty for our sins. He is the righteous One who offers His righteousness to all who believe in Him, by faith. To know Christ is to know God and to have eternal life.

This knowledge leads us to a greater appreciation and understanding of grace, which binds us with far stronger cords than the cords of duty or obligation can bind us. Grace is free, but when once we take it, we are bound forever to the Giver and bound to catch the spirit of the Giver. Like produces like. Grace makes us gracious, the Giver makes us give.[3]

Because grace emanates from God, it allows us to see Him as He is. Because this is true, we see that grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues. Grace is the love that gives, that loves the unlovely and the unlovable.

Grace is the central invitation to life and the final word. It’s the beckoning nudge and the overwhelming, undeserved mercy that urges us to change and grow, and then gives us the power to pull it off. Our Lord Jesus Christ has three “spiritual commodities” that can be secured from nobody else: righteousness, grace, and peace. When you trust Him as your Saviour, His righteousness becomes your righteousness and you are given a right standing before God (2 Cor. 5:21). You could never earn this righteousness; it is the gift of God to those who believe. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5). Grace is God’s favor to the undeserving. God in His mercy does not give us what we do deserve; God in His grace gives us what we don’t deserve. Our God is “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10), and He channels that grace to us through Jesus Christ (John 1:16).

A man must completely despair of himself in order to become fit to obtain the grace of Christ. It’s the natural state of “emptying self” or “dying to self” so that God can work in our life to give that which we need the most.

When God is working in our life, we sense things about us that otherwise might go unnoticed. A state of mind that sees God in everything is evidence of growth in grace and a thankful heart.

And it makes a difference in our life! Grace binds us with far stronger cords than the cords of duty or obligation can bind us. Grace is free, but when we take it, we are bound forever to the Giver and bound to catch the spirit of the Giver. Like produces like. Grace makes us gracious, the Giver makes us give.[4]

Grace can pardon our ungodliness and justify us with Christ’s righteousness; it can put the Spirit of Jesus Christ within us; it can help us when we are down; it can heal us when we are wounded; it can multiply pardons, as we through frailty multiply transgressions.

The result of this experience is peace, peace with God (Rom. 5:1) and the peace of God (Phil. 4:6-7). In fact, God’s grace and peace are “multiplied” toward us as we walk with Him and trust His promises.

[1] A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)

[2]MacArthur, J. J. 1997, c1997. The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) . Word Pub.: Nashville

[3] E. Stanley Jones (1884–1973)

[4] E. Stanley Jones (1884–1973)

 

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2022 in 1 Peter, Christian graces

 

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