GodReflection: Is Grace Still Amazing?
This morning I will end this series of posts on the amazing grace gifted to us by the Holy. My thoughts have circled through various levels and contours of this bottomless gift. Again, I am impressed with the impossibility of full comprehension. Once more, I see my human inability, to extend the gift to others in the perfect way Jesus encountered the needs of those who crossed his path. I don’t always extend grace when I should.
It seems to me the old apostle gives us a statement and plea of summation to close this series of post for now: Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity (2 Peter 3:18).
It is easy to identify with Simon Peter. Far too often he spoke before he thought. But he continued to follow Jesus with all his fisherman weakness. He makes big mistakes yet, since his first encounter with Jesus, the apostle never failed to own up to the fact—I am a sinful man (Luke 5:8). Like the Apostle John, he could have applied as a self-descriptor ‘the one who Jesus loved’.
At a morning campfire breakfast with Jesus, three repetitious “Peter, do you love me” questions, caused the apostle to see both the grace of the cross and Jesus’ grace gift given personally to him—the gift of total and complete forgiveness.
By the time he writes his second letter, he now understands grace as double faceted. To receive grace is to give grace. To grow in grace is to understand I cannot give it unless I receive it. And I cannot receive it and keep it to myself. Is it fair to use the analogy of Israelite manna, it spoils when not used properly? The apostle spent the remainder of his life in the glow of the gift of grace and then gifting others with the grace (kindness and forgiveness) he had received.
And so, the elderly apostle reminds us to Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). I find the situation of the church who first received his letter particularly relevant today.
He addresses a people who struggle with day-to-day life. Life is hard. There are days when it seems endless. Earthly governance is in freefall. Life is full of unknowns. With the weight of difficulty that surrounds the congregation, the apostle encourages each person to remember the grace they have received and the grace they can offer to others.
He reminds them of how patient Jesus is with each of his followers. They are now family—his family. He asks them like us to be patient with each other and trust God to settle their (our) accounts with offenders. To the church of his day, and to us he asks that we seek to be persons who lead lives of holiness and godliness (2 Peter 3:11).
Every hardship and difficulty life throws at us is traceable to sins’ garden entrance. Our Eden heritage means there is no such thing as life lived on planet earth free of difficulty.
So, in our prolonged struggle, Peter injects an additional insight as to how to look at our time while the difficulties of life continue. The very fact that our struggles are prolonged, is to join with God in his mission—the mission of patience. To grow in grace is a Holy way to spend our time because: The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Is not God asking us to join him in patience as we await with Holy Hope that others might yet accept the same gift of grace we received? By my willingness to walk faithfully the hard road of life, doesn’t that place me in partnership with God to extend time for others to receive grace?
And finally, the Apostle asks us to live out grace in anticipation of our ultimate gift that awaits from the Holy, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home (2 Peter 3:13).
Together, may we pledge a new to grow in our thankfulness for the grace gift we received, and to trust the Holy to bring others into our path to experience the glow of Holy Grace as our gift to them.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on Grow in Grace