May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” (1 Peter 1:2, ESV)
In 1974 several huge events happened in my life. I graduated college with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, I was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army, and I married my wife, Chris. Following my training in Fort Knox, I was assigned as a Tank Platoon Leader in the Federal Republic of Germany. A couple months later, my wife joined me and we rented an apartment from a German landlord.
As a 2nd Lieutenant, as I remember, my pay was somewhere around $430 per month. Let me just say that we did not live the high life. We did the best we could. I remember us eating peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches or tuna-fish sandwiches for dinner very often, especially at the end of the month. We just did not have the sufficient funds to cover our monthly expenses. Thus, we made up the difference by purchasing things in the Post Exchange with a credit card. After about a year, we were able to move into the military housing area and things began to settle down. The point is to live comfortably, we need sufficient resources.
In the introduction to Peter’s letter, he wrote of several things. He mentioned the Spirit’s work of sanctification in the believer and the purpose God has for us in obedience to Jesus Christ. Yet, for these things to happen much is required. It is not possible for the natural, unsaved, man to experience the Spirit’s work of sanctification, that is growth in Christlikeness and it is not natural for an unsaved person to be obedient to the will of Christ. Both of these things require a supernatural element. That element is the manifestation of God’s grace. What is God’s grace? It is God’s manifestation of goodwill to us who are undeserving.
The ongoing work of becoming more like Jesus is something that only God can do by the working of His Spirit in a person. It is a result of His manifest grace (Gal 3:1–2). The faith by which we live the Christian life is a result of the grace of God (Eph 2:8–9). Our spiritual gifts come by God’s grace (Rom 12:6). The resources to do great works come by grace (2 Cor 9:8). Furthermore, our good works, that is our obedience to the will of Jesus, also requires the manifestation of God’s grace. Paul wrote regarding this grace necessary for effective service.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10, AV)
Along with God’s grace comes the peace of God. It is that peace which transforms our countenance amidst the various trials and challenges of life.
In this introduction, Peter invokes a blessing upon those who would read his letter. It is that God would multiply grace and peace to the believers. Only God’s grace is sufficient to accomplish all great things in our lives. There is one great prerequisite to receiving grace. It is humility. James wrote, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6, AV).
I pray that you all realize the sufficiency of God’s grace in your lives. “May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”