God’s Word for You
2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, June 11, 2022
2 May grace and peace be increased for you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Peter’s message in this verse has, with only a small adjustment, become the classic introduction of many sermons. If we take it apart into its three pieces, we see its importance because a sermon should give God’s people (1) specific contents, (2) from a specific basis, and (3) with a specific purpose.
1, The specific contents: grace and peace. These things come from knowing Christ. Peter’s wish is that, rather than knowing him (Peter) better, his readers would grow in their knowledge of Christ and of the Father. Now, grace and peace are ours today and will be ours for all eternity, but as our understanding of his grace increases, our sense of peace in this lifetime will also increase, so that when he says, “Do not be afraid” (Luke 12:32) we will have some idea of why we don’t need to be afraid. For just as a mother tells her child, “Don’t be afraid, Mama’s here,” so also the Lord says, “Do not be afraid. I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:10,20).
2, The specific basis: the righteousness of God our Savior (carried over from verse 1). The righteousness of God excludes all human righteousness. “We are made righteous before God solely through faith,” Luther preaches, “Therefore faith is also called a ‘righteousness of God.’ For before the world it has no validity. Indeed, it is even condemned” (LW 30:151). We need to be reminded week upon week that our righteousness, the righteousness that the Bible proclaims that we have, comes from outside of us, and in fact it comes to us from Christ alone, to his glory and for our salvation (Romans 3:21).
3, The specific purpose: To arouse interest in and to reinforce: knowledge in our God and Savior. Peter wants us to guard against temptations as well as fears. Such things will always come. Every Christian suffers from attacks of blasphemy and even doubt in God because this is what the murdering devil does; he wants to destroy faith in every one of God’s people. So he sows weeds among the wheat, and perverse thoughts, doubts, and even blasphemies will be thrown into our heads against our will and in spite of our struggle against them. But God permits these things to come at us just as he permitted attacks on his beloved Job (Job 1:12, 2:6) so that we won’t be nonchalant or lazy with our faith, but we will fight against these things, dig even more deeply into his word, and so that we will be comforted by his grace, his forgiveness, and his other blessings.
This daily exercise is how God strengthens our faith and reinforces our knowledge of Christ as we search the scriptures and study and explore the wisdom of God and everything that he has done. Sirach said: “Those who read the Scriptures (that is, read them in public worship) must not only themselves understand them, but must also be men who love to learn and be able to help others with the spoken and the written word of God” (Prologue). But since so many Christians, preachers and lay people alike, run dangerously close to arrogance and complacency over their faith, God humbles us. “It’s humility that’s needed in the study of the sacred word.”
Meditate on God’s word with humble joy. There in his word we find the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Pastor Timothy Smith