The next eight days of devotions will be based on the theme of “grace.” Grace is a word with a pretty broad meaning in the Bible, but specifically we’re going to be defining grace as the free and undeserved love, favor, and salvation that God extends to us. And we’re going to be digging into what exactly it means for our lives that we have received God’s grace by looking at 2 letters written by Peter, 1 Peter & 2 Peter.
1 Peter was written from Rome as a letter to the many Christian believers scattered throughout the world at the time. Peter wrote it specifically to address the “true grace of God” and what it means in our lives (5:12). When this letter was written Christians were in the minority and they had to undergo trials and suffering for their faith. This suffering, though, wasn’t widespread persecution and murder. Instead it consisted more of social ostracism, slander, and some incidents of violence. 2 Peter was written from Rome just before Peter was killed for his faith. It has some strong cautions about false teaching, and concludes with an awesome picture of what God’s grace ultimately means to us.
I am excited to see God shape all of us as we journey through Peter’s letters together!
READ: 1Peter 1
BACKGROUND: Peter kicks off his letter with a reminder of the gospel and the kind of hope that it brings to us.
1 – Peter calls his readers aliens to remind them that their permanent citizenship is in Heaven, not wherever they currently reside.
2 – We see the Trinity clearly in this verse. God the Father, Jesus Christ, & the Holy Spirit working as 1 God in 3 persons.
13 – Prepare your minds for action is actually a Greek figure of speech that translates “gird up the loins of your mind.” Girding loins means fastening up your garments so that you could move quickly and freely without obstruction. Peter is telling us to clear out the hindrances from our minds.
15 – Being holy means being set apart from sin to God.
16 – From Leviticus 11:44
24-25 – From Isaiah 40:6-8
THINK: As hard as it is to believe, in 2003 my beloved Chicago Cubs were one of the best teams in baseball. They had great young pitching talent in Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, a number of hitters who could really mash the ball, and an experienced manager named Dusty Baker. All of us who bleed Cubbie blue were convinced that with our talent and with Dusty’s knowledge of the game it was finally our year. The sidewalks outside of Wrigley field were littered with vendors selling t-shirts that said, “In Dusty, We Trusty!” I almost bought one because I totally bought in. I put my hope in Dusty to lead us to the promised land. Those of you who know anything about baseball are well aware that he didn’t. In fact, with the Cubs only a few outs from making it to the World Series for the first time in nearly half a century, Dusty made some major managerial mistakes and they flamed out in fantastic fashion. Then I jumped off a roof. It hurt. Bad.
A big part of the hurt wasn’t the physical pain of the bleeding elbow, twisted ankle, & bruised tailbone. It was the emotional pain of knowing that I put my trust and my hope in someone who didn’t deliver. I never should have put my trusty in Dusty. Even though most of you – I hope – have never been dumb enough to put your hope in the Cubs, we’ve all put our hope in people or things that have failed us. But Peter tells us to fix our hope COMPLETELY on God’s grace. Do we do that? If you’re honest, where is your hope? I think a lot of us put our hope in earthly things – the type of things that Peter goes on to describe as perishable. We put our hope in money, success, popularity, good grades, possessions…the list goes on. Even those of us who put our hope in God’s grace don’t always do so completely. We put some hope in God, but still put some of it in our finances or our achievement. In the end, though, only God’s grace is worth hoping in. Everything else fades away and pales in comparison. Putting our hope completely in God sets us free to live completely for God!
ASK: What are the things that I put my hope in? What would it look like and how would my life be different if my hope was completely in God?
PRAY: Thank God for his incredible grace extended to us. Ask him to help you put your hope completely in him so that you can be set free to live completely for him.