Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
The apostle Peter prays that his readers would have grace and peace multiplied to them in the knowledge of God in Christ (v. 2). As long as we live in a world full of sin and evil, strife and turmoil, we are in critical need of peace. For many years my nation and its government has spoken about the need for peace and harmony, while at the same time engaging in warfare around the world, while seeing increasing levels of division and dissent among different groups within the country. It seems we want peace, but we have little good way of finding that peace.
The root of our trouble finding peace is that we are looking to the wrong sources. When we look deep within ourselves, we find turmoil. When we look to the natural world, we find a place of beauty but also of forbidding danger and destructive power. When we look to others in our lives, we find they are approximately as likely as we are to have found peace. When we look to governments, we find an organization which collects all the characteristics of the citizens and/or leaders. Good and bad are mixed together. We will not find peace there.
Where does Peter direct us? He directs us to the knowledge of God in Christ. Jesus has come to bear our sin, to be our savior, and to break down the wall of separation that divided us from God's love. He has won peace for us, by conquering sin and despair on our behalf. This is where we can find true peace. It's in the grace of God.
Peter goes on to describe character qualities that will grow out of having peace with God. They don't create peace, but they come from it. When we dwell in the peace of God, we grow in the gracious attributes he describes for living in this world. Christians will normally sum it up by saying that we learn to love and serve our neighbor, living and acting for the good of those around us.
Our prayer, then, is that we may experience the grace and peace which come from God in Christ, and that we may bring that grace and peace to our world. This is the work of God, but it is accomplished in us and delivered through us. We look to Christ. He takes care of the rest.
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