Every morning at 8:45 the Desiring God staff gathers for a 15-minute devotional. We read a small portion of Scripture, apply it to God’s call on us, and then pray for various outreach efforts, needs, and prayer requests. It’s our daily reminder that apart from Jesus we can do nothing.
We’ve been reading through Second Peter. And two things in Peter’s opening greeting blew us away.
First, he addressed his letter
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
“Equal standing” with Peter? Think about that. Peter was a capital “A” Apostle. Jesus had handpicked him as a disciple. He was the first to confess Jesus to be the Christ. He saw Jesus transfigured on the mountain. He was the first Apostle to see the resurrected Jesus. He preached the first evangelistic sermon at Pentecost. He boldly confronted the Sanhedrin when they questioned him about healing the lame man. He was the first to preach to the Gentiles. Sick people used to line the streets where Peter walked, hoping that his shadow might fall on them and heal them. Peter actually wrote Scripture.
And we ordinary Christians have obtained a faith of equal standing with Peter’s? Absolutely yes! There is nothing ordinary about the faith we’ve received. It has been given to us as a gift from the Lord Jesus, the same Lord who gave Peter his faith.
Peter had no illusion about who he was. He was an ordinary man chosen by an extraordinary Savior to fulfill an extraordinary calling through the power of an extraordinary Spirit. All that had made Peter extraordinary had come to him as a gift of grace from God. Apart from Jesus he was nothing. That’s why when Cornelius fell at his feet and worshiped him, Peter quickly pulled him up and said, “Stand up; I too am a man” (Acts 10:26).
If you are a Christian, the same amazing Savior has chosen you, cleansed you from all your sin, given you his perfect righteousness, and filled you with his Holy Spirit. “What the Lord has made clean, do not call common” (Acts 10:15). Jesus has made you extraordinary, more than you know. Jesus has called you by name, appointed you to faithfully steward a particular calling, has a unique name for you that only he knows, and has prepared a place in his eternal kingdom especially for you. Peter considers you a peer, his sibling in God’s family.
Secondly, Peter pronounced this blessing on his readers:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Doesn’t the thought of grace and peace being multiplied to you sound refreshing? Isn’t it just what you need right now, a bath in God’s grace and peace?
It’s available to you. The more you know of God, the more familiar you are with his promises, the more your thinking is shaped and saturated by the words of the Lord Jesus, and the more grace and peace will be multiplied to you. Your Bible contains the source of the grace and peace you need. Jesus intends for his words to abide in you, because they are the words of life.
Peter, who had experienced unprecedented signs and wonders and empowerments of the Holy Spirit, knew that people experienced the grace of God through the message of the gospel. It’s the truth that sets us free. And he knew that peace didn’t come from merely witnessing phenomena, but from believing what Jesus said. He remembered Jesus’ words:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
That’s why Desiring God is a teaching ministry. Jesus intends for his gospel to be preached. In his Great Commission he instructed his disciples to go to the nations and teach them to observe all that he had commanded them (Matthew 28:20). So the apostles first filled Jerusalem (Acts 5:28) and then turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6) with their teaching. Now we want to be a part of turning the world upside down in our generation. So we’re going to continue to press to find new ways to spread this teaching freely to as many people in as many nations as possible.
One way we would like to encourage you personally this month is to point you to a message by John Piper titled, “Liberating Promises,” a sermon on 2 Peter 1:1-4. Because it is through God’s precious and very great promises that you are becoming a partaker of the divine nature. This message and over a thousand others are available free on our website because friends of DG financially support us.
We want you to be encouraged, my friend. You have obtained from the Lord a faith of equal standing with the greatest apostles. And you have been given the very same promises by the Lord Jesus. So keep “grow[ing] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). And may grace and peace be multiplied to you.
That the earth may be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,