Grace and Peace, Our Inheritance
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
What a remarkable and revealing greeting Peter makes here to the churches in the region of what is now modern day Turkey.
First he refers to them as both strangersand as Elect. They are strangers in that they were not Jews who had converted to faith in Jesus Christ, but as believers in Jesus their national, regional and family identity of natural birth did not preclude them from being counted with the Elect, because their Election to the faith was according to the sanctification that God imparted to them by His Spirit, because they had accepted obedience to His Word and were cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. And so too were we all.
Every believer in Jesus has come through this same pathway of faith in God. We were all strangers from the covenants of promise given to Israel through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But, Jesus Christ our Lord, the central focus of the covenants, is also the Chief Heir in all things and the fulfillment of all the promises of God for salvation. The covenants of God to Israel are established on the foundation of Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection.
To each of the churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, and by virtue of faith in Jesus Christ to us, he writes, “Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
The first call of God to us in all of His communication to the church is to express His grace and peace, even multiplied peace. What makes this significant is that we can read and hear His Words we may do so without condemnation or fear of judgment and wrath. Quite the contrary, in all His Word, He is revealing to us truth and wisdom that brings us His grace and multiplied peace.
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
“Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 4:25-5:2
Because we have peace with God we are free to live our lives without, fear, without guilty, without condemnation and without shame, for the past, the present or the future.
The grace and peace of God is wide enough, deep enough and long-lasting enough to keep us until Jesus returns and we are perfected and transformed instantly from mortal to immortal from corruption to incorruption.
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." 1 Corinthians 15:51-53
When we are made immortal and incorruptible, we will never see death again, and sin, sickness, poverty, lack or want will have no place in us forever.
Yes, we were once strangers, but now we are the Elect of God in Jesus and one in peace together in the inheritance of the Covenants of God to Israel.
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace…” Ephesians 2:13-15