No right-minded person likes war; we crave for peace, the absence of strife and all hostility. Many religions and therapies claim to calm the mind; as do alcohol, nicotine and other drugs. But the 'peace' Peter writes about has a unique origin and eternal effect. We cannot fight for it or work to earn it; God's peace comes only through His grace because of His love for us. This grace is part of God's gift at Christ's expense. It enables us to come directly to our Heavenly Father, without fear of judgement (see www.crosscheck.org.uk to find out more).
The purpose of God’s peace is not primarily to make us feel calm (although it will), but to assure us that the dark shadow of God's wrath has been taken away from us, because Jesus bore it all for us (Romans 5:1). It is a peace treaty that God declares: He is no longer opposed to us in our sin but welcomes us in the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Every believer is called to live in that peace, knowing that God in His love is not against us, but for us (Romans 8:31). All those who admit that they were the reason that Christ died are assured of a loving welcome at God's throne.
Peter’s opening greeting is also a benediction: a statement of blessing by God on His people. However troubled they might be, and they would face fierce persecution, they needed to know that God was continuing to pour out His grace and peace in every situation. Peter wanted them to receive that grace and peace in abundance so that they might live in His security whatever might come to them. We also need that same affirmation. Of course, that is only the start of our relationship with the Lord, but without that start there is no way to get to know Him. Then, once we know that God is longing for us to respond to Him, we need to learn how to please Him - and that is what Peter's second letter is all about.
Getting to know someone takes a lifetime. It is certainly true in marriage: as time goes on, we find out more about our spouse. It is the same with God: the more we know of Him, His love and grace and mercy, the more secure we become. Confidence grows as we receive His peace, knowing that all is well between us and Him. The more we explore the Bible, the greater the knowledge and the deeper the peace. In fact, Jesus said that there is no other way to know peace with God except by the grace of Christ (John 14:6). Many people are looking for that peace today; and they need you to tell them how to find it!
© Dr Paul Adams