Grace and Peace…

A few weeks ago I wrote about something that struck me in the Gospel of Luke. I love when I’m reading Scripture and the Holy Spirit illuminates something for me that I, in my ignorance, had failed to see so many times before. Thankfully, that’s not a one-time deal.

This morning, I began reading 1 Peter. I immediately got hung up on the first two verses. Is there a more theologically rich introduction to a letter in all of Scripture? I couldn’t help but be struck by the rich and profound nature of these first two verses and I knew immediately I had to share what the Holy Spirit graciously shared with me.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

 

            To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

 

            May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

 

(1 Peter 1:1-2 ESV)

 

The first thing to notice here is Peter’s Trinitarian theology. A lot of people like to argue that the early followers of Christ would not have believed in his divinity, that because they were Jews, they would have seen Jesus as Messiah, but there is no way they would have put him on the same level as YHWH. However, while the term “Trinity” wasn’t coined until the late 2nd century, we can see clearly in Peter’s introduction a belief in “God the Father,” “Jesus Christ,” and “the Spirit,” and we can see clearly some aspects of the roles of each: the foreknowledge and wisdom of the Father, the atoning work and Lordship of Jesus, and the sanctifying work of the Spirit. What a beautiful picture of the Trinity penned just thirty odd years after the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The second thing that stood out to me is that in the midst of persecution and suffering, in the midst of the “Dispersion,” Peter assures these believers that God has worked all this together for their good. I was in disbelief that the term “elect exiles” had never struck me before…Peter is literally telling these people that they were chosen by God “according to his foreknowledge” to face persecution! If we stop there, we are left with a picture of what most would consider an evil God, but fortunately, we don’t stop there. Peter goes on to tell these believers why God predestined them for suffering: so that the Holy Spirit can further sanctify them, producing obedience to Jesus and sprinkling with his blood. Thank you, Father God, for your wisdom. Thank you for preparing for us before laying the foundations of the Earth trials and suffering and persecution that will serve to prove the genuineness of our faith and will make us more like Christ.

I can’t help but be taken back to my favorite chapter in Scripture, about which I preached and posted a blog last week. The similarities in Peter’s theology and Paul’s theology are truly astounding. Paul tells the Roman saints in chapter 8 that the “sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed,” that “for those who love God all things work together for good,” and that “those whom (God) foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” What does Peter tell us here in these first two verses but the exact same thing?

In a context where I am continually forced to examine the Bible over and over again, to dissect it like a cadaver, laying on the table to be critically studied, to question its authenticity and historicity and reliability, I am so thankful for moments like these. I am so thankful for the consistency throughout Scripture relaying God’s steadfast love and his kind heart towards us. His desire is for the good of his elect and he truly has been working towards that for eternity past, so that Peter can say in all integrity to the believers of the Dispersion, in the midst of their suffering, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”

I repeat the words of the biblical authors and the desire of our Lord Jesus to you…

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s