1 Peter 1:1-2
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,…
1. The connection, grace and peace. The way to have peace is to have grace; grace is the breeder of peace.
2. The order; first grace, then peace. Grace is the elder sister.
I. WHAT IS MEANT BY GRACE? The infusion of a new and holy principle into the heart, whereby it is changed from what it was, and is made after God's own heart.
II. THE AUTHOR OR EFFICIENT OF GRACE; namely, the Spirit of God, who is therefore called the Spirit of grace. The Spirit is the fountain from whence crystal streams of grace flow.
1. Universally; "the God of peace sanctify you wholly." The Spirit of God infuseth grace into all the faculties of the soul; though grace be wrought but in part, yet in every part; in the understanding light, in the conscience tenderness, in the will consent, in the affections harmony; therefore grace is compared to leaven, because it swells itself in the whole soul, and makes the conversation to rise as high as heaven.
2. The Spirit of God works grace progressively, He carries it on from one degree to another.
III. WHY IS THE WORK OF HOLINESS IN THE HEART CALLED GRACE?
1. Because it has a super-eminency above nature. It is of Divine extraction (James 3:17). By reason we live the life of men, by grace we live the life of God.
2. It is called grace because it is a work of free grace; every link in the golden chain of our salvation is wrought and enamelled with free grace.
IV. THE COGENCY AND NECESSITY OF GRACE. It is most needful, because it fits us for communion with God. Alexander being presented with a rich cabinet of king Darius, he reserved it to put Homer's works in, as being of great value. The heart is a spiritual cabinet into which the jewel of grace should be put.
1. Grace hath a soul-quickening excellency in it: "the just shall live by faith." Men void of grace are dead.
2. Grace hath a soul enriching excellency: "ye are enriched in all knowledge." As the sun enricheth the world with its golden beams, so doth knowledge enrich the mind.
3. Grace hath a soul-adorning excellency (1 Peter 3:4, 5). A soul decked with grace is as the dove covered with silver wings and golden feathers.
4. Grace hath a soul. cleansing excellency. Grace lays the soul a-whitening, it takes out the leopard spots, and turns the cypress into an azure beauty. Grace is of a celestial nature; though it doth not wholly remove sin, it doth subdue it; though it doth not keep sin out, it keeps it under; though sin in a gracious soul doth not die perfectly, yet it dies daily. Grace makes the heart a spiritual temple, which hath this inscription upon it, "Holiness to the Lord."
5. Grace hath a soul-strengthening excellency, it enables a man to do that which exceeds the power of nature. Grace teacheth to mortify our sins, to love our enemies, to prefer the glory of Christ before our own lives.
6. Grace hath a soul-raising excellency; it is a Divine sparkle that ascends; when the heart is Divinely touched with the loadstone of the Spirit, it is drawn up to God. Grace raiseth a man above others; he lives in the altitudes, while others creep on the earth and are almost buried in it; a Christian by the wings of grace flies aloft; the saints "mount up as eagles." A believer is a citizen of heaven.
7. Grace hath a perfuming excellency; it makes us a sweet odour to God. Hence grace is compared to those spices which are most fragrant (Song of Solomon 4:13).
8. Grace hath a soul-ennobling excellency; grace makes us vessels of honour, it sets us above princes and nobles. The saints are called kings and priests for their dignity, and jewels for their value.
9. Grace hath a soul-securing excellency, it brings safety along with it. Xerxes, the Persian, when he destroyed all the temples in Greece, caused the temple of Diana to be preserved for its beautiful structure; that soul which hath the beauty of holiness shining in it shall be preserved for the glory of the structure; God will not suffer His own temple to be destroyed.
10. Grace hath a heart-establishing excellency; "it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace." Before the infusion of grace, the heart is like a ship without a ballast; it wavers and tosseth, being ready to overturn. A gracious heart cleaves to God, and let whatever changes come, the soul is settled as a ship at anchor.
11. Grace hath a preparatory excellency in it; it prepares and fits for glory. First you cleanse the vessel, and then pour in wine. God doth first cleanse us by His grace, and then pour in the wine of glory; the silver link of grace draws the golden link of glory after it: indeed, grace differs little from glory; grace is glory in the bud, and glory is grace in the flower. In short, glory is nothing else but grace commencing and taking its degrees.
12. Grace hath an abiding excellency; temporal things are for a season, but grace hath eternity stamped upon it. Other riches take wings and fly from us; grace takes wings and flies with us to heaven. Let us try whether our grace be true; there is something looks like grace which is not. saith the devil hath a counterfeit chain to all the graces, and he would deceive us with it.Lapidaries have ways to try their precious stones; let us try our grace by a Scripture touchstone: the painted Christian shall have a painted paradise.
1. The truth of grace is seen by a displacency and antipathy against sin: "I hate every false way."
2. Grace is known by the growth of it, growth evidenceth life.
3. True grace will make us willing to suffer for Christ. Grace is like gold, it will abide the "fiery trial."Lessons:
1. If we would be enriched with this jewel of grace, let us take pains for it; we are bid to make a hue and cry after knowledge, and to search for it as a man that searcheth for a vein of gold. Our salvation cost Christ blood, it will cost us sweat.
2. Let us go to God for grace; He is called "the God of all grace." We could lose grace of ourselves, but we cannot find it of ourselves.
3. If you would have grace, engage the prayers of others in your behalf. He is like to be rich who hath several stocks going; he is in the way of spiritual thriving who hath several stocks of prayer going for him.
Parallel VersesKJV: Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,