Both Grace And Peace1
Both Grace & Peace
May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
1 Peter 1:2b (ESV)
We don’t pay much attention to salutations now. It is just a formality that we glance at as we move quickly into the content of the correspondence. Biblical writers viewed it with much more appreciation. In this case, Peter is speaking over his readers the blessing given in the gospel he is advocating.
"Peace" is a word familiar to Old Testament readers. It is what Israel longed to have. They wanted rest from the oppression of their enemies. It is what God promised and provided to those in covenant with him. As they lived by his order, their lives would be characterized by rest, fruitfulness, productivity, and general prosperity as a people.
The whole concept of “Shalom” is covered in this blessing. It includes provision for needs, protection from hostile enemies, and honor as God’s people on earth. In the Old Testament, this kind of peace is measured mostly in physical and temporal terms. They would have lots of children; their fields would produce big harvests; their barns would be full; and the other nations would envy their might.
The depth of this word is enhanced as it moves into the New Testament. It becomes more about eternal and invisible rest than temporal and visible. Regardless of circumstances, those blessed by the peace that Jesus gives will stand in joy. They will even be given the privilege to suffer like Jesus, sometimes losing all their temporal possessions—even their own lives. Poverty and wealth will no longer be primarily about money, but about love and joy.
"Grace," though not unknown in the Old Testament, also blossoms in the New Testament. The apostle John says, “And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:16). All the promises and predictions of previous years are fulfilled in Jesus. He reveals the substance behind all the shadows of him. He does what the prophets have promised. He becomes what God requires of us. He did for us what we could not do and removed any obstruction between us and God the Father. He alone reconciled us to God. He has already made the journey to heaven and sits at the Father’s right hand. Those in him have the security of knowing their journey will end there, too.
But that is not all. From his position as ruling Lord, he has sent the Spirit who raised him from the dead to live in believers to empower them to be faithful witnesses of his mighty grace. Grace has restored the partnership God has always wanted with his people. We can enjoy him while we work this ground, knowing that his resources are adequate.
Peter has blessed both the readers of his day and the readers of today with “multiplied” peace and grace. By what number are they multiplied? By whatever number we require to live our shared life with him.
Don’t skip the salutation!