1 Peter 5:12 Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!
For the past several weeks we have been periodically looking at grace through the lens of the life of the Apostle Peter. We first noted on August 16, 2013 a testimony of grace through an overview of Jesus' calling and installation of Peter as a disciple and apostle in the Gospels and Acts. Next on August 17 we looked at God's healing of the man at the Beautiful gate through Peter's ministry to him in Acts 3:1-10, entitling that post "Peter - the miraculous nature of grace". In July 29th post we noted Peter as an illustration of a ministry of grace by way of his sermon on the aforementioned miracle in Acts 3:11-4:4. Through the calling, preaching and ministry of the Apostle Peter, we saw grace as a testimony, a miracle and a ministry.
In today's post we once again look into the life of the Apostle Peter through his actual writings. Of interest today is Peter's message of grace in 1 Peter as we consider the Living Source of grace as being God Himself in 1 Peter 1:1-2:10.
Identifying the main verse, outline and theme of 1 Peter
Main verse of 1 Peter
From the opening statement above, we know that without a doubt grace is from God, through God and to God. As Peter writes in what I would consider to be the chief verse of his first epistle, 1 Peter 5:12 - "Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!"
The main outline of 1 Peter
This one verse gives to us a two-fold outline by which we can understand 1 Peter: namely when he is speaking of "the true grace of God", He is speaking of God being the Living Source of grace in 1 Peter 1-2. Likewise when he then states about the need to "stand firm in it!", he is dealing with the practical living out of such grace in 1 Peter 3-5.
The main theme of 1 Peter: Living Grace for the Christian Life
From what we can tell of the whole message of 1 Peter, it is none other than the Living Grace for the Christian life. Robert Leighton, the great Bible commentator (1611-1684) writes these words concerning the theme of grace in 1 Peter: "The grace of God in the heart of man, is a tender plant in a strange, unkindly soil; and therefore cannot well prosper and grow, without much care and pains, and that of a skillful hand, and which hath the art of cherishing it. For this end hath God given the constant ministry of the word to His church, not only for the first work of conversion, but also for confirming and increasing of his grace in the hearts of his children." 1
God the Living Source of Grace - 1 Peter 1:1-2:10
1 Peter 1:1-2 gives us a compact outline of 1 Peter 1:1-2:10 - "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens,scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure." These Christians were scattered and spread throughout the wide and roaming domains of the ancient Roman world. They needed encouragement and comfort - Peter had the message: Living Grace for the Christian life. As you can see in 1 Peter 1:2, the Triune God is identified as The Living source of such grace. Grace is God doing for you what you otherwise could never do for yourself. Note how 1 Peter 1-2 unfolds the Triune God as being the Living Source of Grace:
1 Peter 1:3-9
As Peter notes in 1 Peter 1:2, God's grace originated in eternity by the foreknowledge of the Father as He planned it and communicated it in the shared glory He has always had with the Spirit and the Son. This agreed upon effort between the Father, Son and Spirit is what theologians call "The Covenant of Redemption" and is spelled out more fully in passages such as Ephesians 1:4-12 and Hebrews 13:20. The Father eternally planned Living grace for Christian living.
The Holy Spirit Effectively applies Living grace 1 Peter 1:10-16; 22-25
Peter then writes in 1 Peter 1:2 about the "sanctifying work of the Spirit". The work in question refers to the Spirit's effort to convict, call and set apart sinners loved by the Father to position them to repent, believe and be saved from their sins. (Acts 3:19) By applying living grace at saving faith, the Spirit effectively applies to believers the graces of justification, adoption unto sonship and forgiveness. (Romans 3:24-5:5; 8:16-17) In other places in scripture, the sanctifying work of the Spirit speaks of the process by which the Spirit is making the believer more like Jesus as the believer gives themselves to the scripture, prayer and regular time with God's people. (John 17:17; Ephesians 4:12-13; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 10:24-25). So God the Father Eternally planned Living Grace, the Spirit Effectively applies living grace and the Son embodies living grace.
The Son embodies Living Grace. 1 Peter 1:18-21; 2:1-10
Peter writes on in 1 Peter 1:2 "to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure." Jesus Christ is identified in the New Testament as the embodiment of Grace, being that He is God in human flesh. (John 1:14; Titus 2:11) 1 Peter 1:18-21 and 2:1-10 reveals the details of the Son's act and accomplishment of Living Grace in salvation.
1. Robert Leighton. Commentary on First Peter. Reprinted by Kregel. 1972. Page 9