Pastor Jerry Ingalls
Three powerful declarations! Three bold truths found in the very beginning of the Apostle Peter’s second letter:
“…by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (v. 1c).
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…” (v. 3a).
“…He has granted to us His precious and very great promises…” (v. 4a).
Why would Peter, a man who walked with Jesus for three years, make such clear and concise statements about what God has given to the people of faith?
Unlike many audiences and teachers in today’s Christian world, the Apostle Peter did not fear the teaching of God’s grace. Not at all, Peter did not fear what people may do with His teaching on God’s grace; above all, He embraced it, lived in it, and freely proclaimed it! Peter knew, better than most people, that without God’s grace there would not have been an Apostle Peter and there would be no Christianity!
Today, there is a movement of fear sweeping large populations of Christians—If we focus on grace, then we will be not be taking sin seriously and not calling people into the fullness of who they are and are to be in Christ. This is a gross misunderstanding of grace and a misrepresentation of Christianity’s purpose and power source! The unfortunate consequence in the effort to address human tendencies, is that the teachings of God and His grace are being misrepresented. People are not being called into God’s grace, but into religious fervor and legalistic slavery.
Peter taught that because of what Christ has done for us we would securely find our identity in Him and in turn, live for Him through the hardships of suffering and persecution. Because grace is God’s perfect love on and in imperfect people!
God’s grace is not the same as a ‘grace period’ on a credit card. Grace is not a temporary pardon on a payment that must be made by us (plus interest payments, which in many churches equals our good intentions and hard work for God in hopes of pleasing Him). No! We don’t live in this misunderstanding of grace.
Grace is the uncompromising truth that God has made the full payment for us and has adopted us as His own. God has chosen to live in us and us in Him for eternity. Grace completely changes us from an old creation to a new one because we have become and now are the righteousness of God through the finished work of Jesus Christ. This is not a theory; this is a reality for those who are His by faith through grace!
This is the work of the Holy Spirit given to us in response to faith; not our flesh!
Why did Peter do it? Why did he put the emphasis of Christianity on God’s work and not ours?
Because Peter was blessed enough to be a rock-bottom public failure and he knew that he wouldn’t even be a part of God’s family; nevertheless, a leader in Jesus’ Church, apart from grace. Peter knew that anything he was and anything he would do or become would be because of God’s grace and not his good intentions or hard work.
Peter knew that you can’t complete in the flesh what has begun in the Spirit!
Peter taught what he had so personally encountered in Jesus: a perfect love for an imperfect person. And that love transformed Peter and that love transforms you and me!
This grace is available to you today…
*Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.