Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you. 1 Peter 1:1-2
The Christians Peter wrote to were outsiders, scattered all over the Roman Empire, not clustered together in Jerusalem. Outsiders, especially in the First Century lived at the bottom of society. If they had a job it was most likely feeding pigs or washing feet. Some were probably beaten, others had their possessions confiscated, and most likely anyone trying to climb socially avoided them altogether.
These undesirables focused not outwardly, but on their relationship with God. While they saw the haves and the standard of living they enjoyed from the outside, they saw life from the inside of the Kingdom! These believers knew the sanctifying work of the Spirit and the regenerating power of Jesus’ blood.
And they possessed grace and peace – possessions of which those around them knew very little.
The mathematical word multiplied means an abundant increase in something that exists already. Elementary math students know that zero cannot be a multiplier. In other words, zero can’t be reproduced into two or three (or any other number of) piles. It literally doesn’t compute. In order for grace and peace to be multiplied to the Christians Peter addressed, by definition they must already possess them to some degree. In this introduction of his first letter, Peter prays that God will multiply, bestow a many-fold increase in, the amount they already have.
Peter knew what it was to be harassed– and he knew how much greater the grace and peace of God were compared to the life’s difficulties. He reminds his readers that the grace and peace of Jesus do not simply negate the hard stuff of life, they exponentially surpass it.
Abundance is a God-sized concept. He lavishes blessings like grace and peace on us until they fill and overflow our finite containers, spilling over onto those around us.
READY FOR SUNDAY
Put all the hard stuff of you life in one place in your head. Or make an actual list. Include the unfair, as well as things you deserve, that hurt and make life difficult.
Now, in your heart gather up what you have in Christ, all of which you (and I) don’t deserve: grace, peace, forgiveness, redemption, joy, eternal life, inheritance with Christ, a new heart…
Now compare lists.
The troubles we have in this world don’t come close to what we have in Christ. I’m ready to worship God now; I don’t have to wait for Sunday!