Stewards of Grace: Devotional Commentary for August 21-27
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us Wisdom and Insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
7The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.
8Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
9Be hospitable to one another without complaint.
10As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
It must be clearer to us by now that Peter's discourse on suffering specifically focuses on Christ's suffering and its divine objectives. God redeemed a people for Himself through His Son's suffering on the Cross at Calvary. Those who are called to redemption according to God's Purpose are also exhorted to live as new creation in Christ. Therefore, Peter continues to teach us how to live in union with Christ as dead to sin in Him and as good stewards of the Grace we received.
He begins to do that by shifting our attention from current trials and persecutions to the imminent end of all things. Thus being focused on the future and having our minds armed with Christ's Purpose, he urges us to be wise and praying instead of languishing as downcast victims.
He earnestly impels us to be prudent and sober in Christ so that our attitudes and dispositions are transformed into the newness of our redemption. He exhorts us to be selflessly, sacrificially, and obediently purposed as Christ so that we might be Christian men and women, completely given to prayer, fervent love, a hospitable attitude, a disposition of contentment, responsible stewardship, and edifying communication. He wants us to follow the example Jesus set for us both in faith and in obedience.
Being transformed into men and women of prayer, we stay in communion with God our Father. There will be less distraction drawing us away from God. With unfeigned and genuine love, we can extend caring attention even toward those who might be persecuting us, just as Christ our Example did. Perfect love casts out fear. Armed with fervent love, we shall be courageous enough to love even our enemies.
Fervent love removes all reasons for any gripes or grievances against anyone because fervent love covers a multitude of sins, enabling us to forgive and care. Fervent love holds the family of faith together. Therefore, we shall enjoy a life less inundated with complaints and whinings. We shall intercede for each other instead of accusing one another.
Being focused on God through prayer, not only would we become wiser and better composed, but also recognize the gifts we have been given and engage ourselves in effectively serving one another with the riches of God's Grace instilled in us. When we recognize our call as Christians to be godly stewards of the multi-facetted Grace God bestowed upon us, we shall be generously gracious even toward those whom we previously sought to shun. Not only our thoughts and perspectives, but also even our words, actions, and services to others would be godly because, in speaking we speak for God and in serving we do so in His Name, in His wisdom, for His sake, by His strength, for His Glory. Peter tells us in no uncertain terms that, living as stewards of the multi-facetted Grace given to us is indeed living in union with Christ for the Glory of God.
Peter's exhortation on the subject of persecution could be easily mistaken for a discourse on the necessity of suffering in Christian life. It could be misconstrued as promoting suffering as deterrent for sinful tendencies or as a means to sanctify oneself. Nothing is further from the truth. Peter spoke about Christ's suffering and its blessings upon us, humility, victory, and redemption.
Thus dying to sin with Christ in His Death and rising to righteousness with Christ in His Resurrection, our life in union with Christ must begin to manifest itself in our daily walk. As we begin to discern our own transformation, we would be constantly confronted with decisions and actions which compel us to count ourselves dead to self and sin, and alive to righteousness in Christ. That is, we begin to respond as new creation in Christ: loving, caring, wise, patient, hospitable, long-suffering, and the like.
Peter reminds us that the end of all things is approaching. Even though we do not know when that would actually take place, we need to disavow our old life and flourish in our new life in Christ, now! As new creation in Christ, we live in a new community of Christ's disciples, howbeit in the world.
But we press onward to the finish-line in Jesus Christ. We move by a living faith. We apply wisdom. We pursue a sacred purpose. We persevere through prayer. We live in this world by His Grace for the Glory of God.
The community of Christ is held together by what the Holy Spirit cultivates in the hearts of God's children. These are: Love, hospitality, prayer, wisdom, contentment, graciousness, care, discernment, and the like. We might find this insurmountable because these are not our natural attributes. But we are given a multi-facetted Grace.
While we are saved by Grace through faith, God's Grace is also our source for strength and wisdom for living as new creation in Christ. God saved us from His own judgment by His Grace. He also enables us by the same Grace to respond to His Word in obedience.
God's Grace is rich and enduring:
- By His Grace, we are given wisdom and discernment for living in this world as God's children.
- By His Grace, we can persevere in a life of prayer.
- By His Grace, we can love the unlovable.
- By His Grace, we can befriend the unfriendly.
- By His Grace, we can be hospitable to all without derogation, with wisdom and godly caution.
- By His Grace, we can pray for those who persecute us.
- By His Grace, we can speak God's Peace to the troubled.
- By His Grace, we can certainly serve the world.
- By His Grace,
We know that God is our strength and our wisdom. We praise Him, we glorify Him. We are the children of God's manifold Grace.