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This Is True Grace

After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace,…will himself RESTORE (PERFECT) you.  I Peter 5:10

One evening, G.K. Chesterton and some writers were discussing what single book they would choose if they were stranded on a desert island.  One writer quickly said, “The complete works of Shakespeare.”  Another responded, “I’d choose the Bible.”  When Chesterton was asked, he replied,  “I would choose Thomas’s Guide to Practical Shipbuilding.”

Now what Thomas’s Guide to Practical Shipbuilding would be to a person stranded on a desert island, the Bible is to those whom Peter says are “strangers in the world.”

All through this letter of 105 verses Peter has talked of what it means for them to live as followers of Jesus:

Joy in midst of sadness,
loving life,
and stewards of the grace of God.

He sums it up in a final and wonderful encouragement to stand firm, because God will “exalt you” (v 6).

Then he adds one more basic necessity for spiritual victory, to come out of a world like this intact: v10- “After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace,…will himself RESTORE (PERFECT) you.

It is not easy to live as strangers in the world.  There are pressures—our internal weaknesses, circumstances, others, even persecution.  Most of all Peter reminds us of the enemy of souls, who like a roaring lion prowls looking for victims.  Living in a world where we are strangers and which is often hostile can take its toll—deterioration, wearing and tearing.

Who of us have not retreated from engagement with life, the worse for wear—wounded, damaged, broken.  What congregation has not known conflict, division, in the struggle to be God’s people.

But Peter reminds us, restoration is God’s special work.  God is not a throw-away God.  He puts things back together, restores, perfects.   Frazzled, at loose ends, in pieces?  God will repair to perfection.

What is special here is the emphasis—it is God’s personal work.  God does not leave this to instrumental means, but it is His own “personal active ministry to His people.”  And it is true grace.  Peter was exhibit A.  This could not have been lost on those to whom he wrote.  They were too near to it.

When the struggle, the battle has taken its toll, God’s word to us is not just “try again”, “try harder” but grace, “true grace” which is all we need.

And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified. (Acts 20:32)

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