Unencumbered Grace and Peace
by Lisa McHeard
According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
1 Peter 1:2 ESV
The grace and favor of God cannot be diminished or enlarged. God has shown us the entirety of it through Jesus Christ. Every bit of love God has for Jesus is bestowed on us the minute we enter a relationship with him. God cannot love or accept us more completely than he does right now. That is an unshakeable fact.
Our awareness of God's favor can certainly increase. We are so easily distracted by difficulties and counterfeit blessings. Peter expresses the desire for an expanded awareness of spiritual benefits in the hearts and minds of God's people. He understood the effect that past guilt and shameful choices can have on the life of a believer. He knew from personal experience what it felt like to deny Christ - to fail so completely.
His desire was that we would, in ever increasing increments, understand for certain that God never expected us to merit his love. Such a requirement would cheapen grace and decrease its wonder. God always meant to secure it for us. The sacrifice of Jesus was not a contingency plan, it was the Master Plan. The beauty of the Salvation Story is, was, and will always be the grand, generous, unexpected, completely sufficient, substitutionary sacrifice of Christ.
"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God."
Romans 5:6-9 ESV
The peace spoken of in this verse is "wholeness". Peter is praying, in effect, that those children of God, who are marginalized and broken by rejection and displacement, would be brought back to wholeness by the grace of God. What a beautiful picture! God himself takes up the task of stitching wounds and binding broken places.
He is the first Good Samaritan, who finding us beaten and wounded by the road, bends down to bind our wounds, applying the soothing oil of his presence and the healing salve of his promises. God restores us to wholeness at his own great expense and keeps on spending until we are completely restored.
"The afflicted also will increase their gladness in the LORD..."
Isaiah 29:19 NASB
Dear Loving Father, who lavishes us with things we don’t deserve and could never earn; please grow in us an awareness of your generous gifts. When others are hard on us, and people wear us down with expectations, judgements and accusations, grant us your grace. Help us see ourselves as you see us and operate in the truth of your perspective. In the midst of testing, turmoil and trouble, grant us heavenly wholeness that helps us rest in you.
Lisa McHeard serves as Women’s Ministry Coordinator for the New York State Presbytery of the PCA. She loves writing and is presently completing a devotional on the Gospel of Mark. Lisa is married to Ken McHeard, senior pastor of Duanesburg Reformed Presbyterian Church, where she serves joyfully at his side.