By Matt Redmond
The other day I was driving down a street I have traveled thousands of times in the almost-decade we have lived in our present home. And for the first time I saw a house I’d never noticed before. No, it was never hidden by trees; it’s always been right there, in plain view. I just never got a good look at it. It’s a very attractive house that I’ve missed time and time again. My first thought was how there are so many beautiful things I must miss every single day.
I miss them in the Scriptures too.
When considering what Peter means when he says, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2), I looked at other places where the words “grace” and “peace” are coupled together, and I was surprised at the result. Almost every letter in the New Testament starts with the author expressing a desire for the reader to have grace and peace.
Even though I have taught on nearly all of these books at one time or another, I never noticed how pervasive this greeting is. What do these writers want for the readers of their letters? What does it mean to have “grace and peace multiplied”?
Peter’s wish does have a qualification. He wants grace and peace to be born of their “knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” In other words, Peter want grace and peace to be “multiplied” to the reader because of what they themselves know about God and their Lord, Jesus.
There are times when life gets hard. Money gets tight. Parenting well seems impossible. Friendships and air conditioners fail. The storms come, and we imagine God is being harsh and working against us. We start wondering what we did to deserve difficult, heartbreaking circumstances. We run through our memory’s rolodex trying to figure out what sin we committed that warrants such treatment from God.
All that sounds foolish unless you are in the middle of the suffering—you know, like Peter’s original readers. And the same is true of us. While in the midst of suffering, it’s hard to imagine the grace and peace of God are ours. But that is when we most need to have grace and peace multiplied to us. That is when we need to remember the gospel. When we are tempted to think God is against us, we need to remember Peter’s expressed desire in the opening of his second letter. Because of the work of Jesus on the cross, we have peace—not just feelings of peace, but real peace—with God. We are never at odds. His disposition toward us is always one of grace and peace.
Written by Matt Redmond