June 27, 2017

Grace and peace be multiplied to you!

I just started memorizing 1 Peter 1 with the group at Do Not Depart (also on Facebook at Hide His Word). So far I’ve learned the first 3 verses. And as I’ve been reciting and remembering, I’ve also been meditating, hoping to gain new understanding and fresh application from the chapter.

One phrase has already jumped out at me. It’s a common phrase, especially within the New Testament epistles.

After the usual greeting, which names both the author(s) and the recipient(s), it was customary to offer a blessing. For instance, since I’ve been learning 1 Peter 1, let me quote those first two verses for you {yes, I’m typing it from memory}:

“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 the sprinkling of with His blood, may grace and peace be multiplied to you.”

{Punctuation doesn’t count, mkay? :)}

Obviously, the apostle Peter is writing this letter, and he is directing it to the “elect exiles of the Dispersion.” Those were Gentile believers who were scattered throughout the region as a result of persecution. He makes a few remarks describing their faith, and then offers a blessing to them of grace and peace.

Paul and John also conferred similar blessings upon their recipients. Have you ever stopped to ponder those blessings, or do you usually just breeze right past them?

If you’re like most Christians, you probably breeze right past. And yet, we can glean several items of significance from this typical greeting.

1. We are to be characterized by these three things: grace, mercy, and peace. There should not be any Christian who is not gracious, not merciful, or not at peace. There should be this distinct difference from the world in every single person who claims the name of Jesus Christ.

2. Grace, mercy, and peace are gifts of benevolence. God is the Author of those three things, and He seeks to give them to us freely. Thus, we know that God is a benevolent God. He wants to do good toward us, and give good things to us. He does not “willingly afflict nor grieve the children of men” (Lamentations 3:33 KJV).

3. We should earnestly desire these same good things for fellow Christians. In other words, we are to be generous. We should seek to bestow  blessing, rather than receive it. We should faithfully be praying for these things to be manifested in each other’s lives.

4. Grace, mercy, and peace are to be continually expanding in our lives! In other words, we should not be stagnant. We should never stay at the same level of maturity, but always be growing and improving in Christ. These characteristics ought be exponentially multiplied within our lives, the longer we walk with Him. As Paul writes, we are to be “transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

These letters may have been written over 2000 years ago. But this offering of blessings still applies to us today!

–> We can focus on growing in grace, showing mercy, and being filled with God’s perfect peace.

–> We can rejoice that our good God offers these gifts freely to His children.

–> We can seek these things for others, through prayer and our own personal interactions.

–> We can gauge our spiritual growth by whether grace, mercy, and peace are being multiplied in us. {<– tweet this!}

To me, this short sentence is one of the most exciting sentences in every epistle. God wants to me to grow in grace! He wants me to overflow with His peace!

And as I grow, and overflow, with these things – they will spill out into the lives of others. And as I improve in grace, mercy, and peace – I will better show Christ to the world around me.

 

QUESTIONS for YOU: Do you value grace, mercy, and peace in your own life? How do you seek to grow and improve in those areas? Do you pray those things for others?

 

Need something to read this week?
Consider doing the Blended Plan with me!
Here is this week’s schedule:

Monday: Psalm 143-145, 2 Corinthians 13
Tuesday: Psalm 146-147, John 1
Wednesday: Psalm 148-150
Thursday: Judges 1-3, John 2
Friday: Judges 4-6
Saturday: Judges 7-8, John 3
Sunday: Judges 9-10

 

 Photo by Kriss Szkurlatowski; 12frames.eu
Linking up with the following sites:

 


Comments

  1. Overflowing with grace, mercy, and peace–yes, that is very exciting to me, too. Love this post! So rich in beautiful truths from just a few verses.

    So glad you are memorizing with us, Elizabeth!

  2. I love your thoughts in this post. I am memorizing this too and it is so true that when just reading these verses, I just kind of gloss over the introductions. Memorizing Scripture really allows me to meditate on every sing word.

  3. Okay, so I’ve honestly been struggling to “get” anything out of these first verses. Thanks for sharing what the Lord showed you! I’m going to think more on that!

    Thanks for linking up with WIP!

  4. Great post! I love that blessing too–“Grace and peace be multiplied to you.” To answer your question at the end, “How do you seek to grow and improve in those areas?” For me, i pray that God would help me to extend to others that same grace and mercy that He so graciously has bestowed upon me. Also, to be a peacemaker by what I think, say and do. Sometimes that means biting my tongue or overlooking an insult. I can’t think of any better way to bear the fruit of peace in my life that than to keep my mind stayed on God’s Word because only then He will keep me in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3)