II Peter 1:1-4
We’ve said, we keep on saying it and we will continue to say it in the coming years—God’s words within His Word have incredibly profound and rich and satisfying meanings when looked into. This is another one of those passages.
We want to zoom in on that “grace and peace be multiplied” portion. But let’s get a wide view of this passage first.
Check verse one. Simon Peter, though, he’s an apostle, writes servant first. This shows a humility and growth that we didn’t see when the apostles first asked, “Lord, who will be the greatest?” This kind of humility is from a heart that desires God. Notice also, it’s to those who have “obtained like precious faith.” Immediately, we can verify that it’s written to believers. And focus on the word precious. This is a great word! The notion behind it is something of a great worth or costly value. We often say, isn’t that baby precious? We’re saying, they’re so wonderful they’re beyond worth. Peter says that’s our faith! But look, it’s not actually “our” faith…because it’s through the righteousness of God and Jesus!
Verse two houses his greeting—our main focus—Have you ever prayed for that? It’s not just an idle greeting like we would say, “Hey, how are you doing?” This is God’s word. This is Peter’s heart. Evidently, he so desired for grace and peace to be multiplied through the knowledge of God and Jesus in these people’s lives. But what does this mean? How is grace and peace multiplied? Well, the simple enough answer would be, “through the knowledge of God and Jesus.”
We need to think about these things being multiplied to understand it, I believe. Here’s why:
Addition is simply adding something into an amount. Like at Pentecost - there were 3000 added unto the church that day. Multiplication is a bit different. It means to take the current amount and increase it by a greater amount.
If you add 1+1=2, but 1x1=1 or even 1x2 or 3 or 4 always yields the original number. You have to move beyond applying a single amount to the current. In this case we have grace x grace. This is best seen in John 1:16. It’s not grace added to grace. It can be read as grace upon or on top of grace.
Consider it in this manner: if I take a cup of water and pour more water into it, that’s adding into it. But if I take a cup of water and stack another cup of water on top it, I’m multiplying the amount of water AND also the capacity to hold more water.
That’s what Peter desires for these saints; that God’s grace and His peace would be greatly increased both in amount and capacity to exercise grace and peace. But don’t forget; it’s through the knowledge of God and Christ. It’s God’s fulness, His riches, Christ’s infinite wisdom that grace and peace might be multiplied.
You see, what happens is that when your surroundings are viewed through the lens of His Word, His mercy, His grace and even His Sovereignty, you perceive things differently. It’s not just grace in your life but you see His grace in every aspect. Maybe He protected a small bird from flying into that semi’s windshield or provides a way for your college student to switch a class at the last minute when the counselors say it won’t happen. When grace and peace is multiplied in your life, it fills your life up. That’s the abundant life Jesus spoke of in John.
The Bible uses multiply in a way that is in reference to filling out or filling up. After the flood the 8 people were told to multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 9:7). God says He will multiply the sorrows of the wicked in Psalm 16:4. Here is no different. I Corinthians 8:1 says knowledge puffs up. That speaks of worldly knowledge. Here we’re called to be filled up or inflated with the experience of knowing and learning about Christ. In that sense, it is multiplied. The more you know, the more you want to know about Him and of Him. That kind of inflation doesn’t produce pride, but a contrite and humble spirit.
Just to counteract anything the human mind would think, multiplied is there to also drive home the fact that WE cannot do anything to add to grace despite what the Catholic doctrine teaches. It is the immeasurably valuable faith given to us through Christ’s righteousness like verse one says that we are given any knowledge at all about the Lord. Because of that, we strive to learn more and it’s not our learning that increases or adds to His grace. Rather it’s our adding knowledge by study that He chooses to abundantly multiply or heap up grace to us and peace/assurance/security in His promises!
That’s what verses 3 and 4 say.
So take these words with you. Pray for this. Not just for yourself but for fellow believers. Pray for the Christians being persecuted in the Middle East, that grace and peace may be multiplied to them. Let grace and peace through the knowledge of Christ increase in you in such a way that people cannot ignore it. When guppies multiply, you know it. Let God’s Word and grace build upon itself in your life.