This morning I came across Peter's call to stand fast in grace. As many of you know, I used to blog at Mr. Standfast, so you might correctly suppose that the concept, standing fast, is kind of important to me. If you look up at the URL of this blog, you will see there the words, "fast in grace" (although some people have read it as "fasting race"!!).
Anyway, I find the concept intriguing. Well, no, that word is too weak. More than intriguing. Try perhaps world changing. To speak of standing fast is usually to speak of strength and perseverance, and certainly that is the theme of Peter's first epistle. But then again there are many ways to stand fast, and not all of them Godly. However, we who have once trusted the grace of God at Calvary, are to stand face in that grace thereafter, and in that grace alone! Through just such fast-standing does God work His will in the world, even as we see our salvation, the fulfillment of all God's kingdom promises, draw nearer each day.
Throughout this epistle, Peter warns his readers that they are going to have to endure some fiery trials. The grace of God, then, is not about His preventing these trials, it's about His blessing and strengthening His children in the midst of them, refining their faith, perfecting them. And that was the grace in which they were to stand. Here "grace" is practically synonymous with "promises." To stand fast in grace, then, is to continue to trust the promises of God through thick and thin. Because in fact through every trial the believer is moving closer and closer to the fulfillment of those promises (think of Joseph, for example).
So, I celebrate the grace of God. Yesterday my son, who went to North Carolina last week under the firm conviction that God was sending him there, walked into the nearby Vineyard church. [Here I want to stop for a moment and praise the Vineyard movement, for in my experience it has been the place where I have seen the church really be the body of Christ.] So, anyway, Nate walked into this little church with a great sense of excitement and anticipation. Before you know it, the pastor had invited him to his home for lunch, and after hearing his story, offered him a room in his own home until he got himself set up. That evening, Nate even led worship in their women's small group.
When you trust God, you're willing to take steps that may seem like great risks in the world's view. In fact, the word trust carries with it an implication of daring. Of risk. But if the one you're trusting is truly and completely trustworthy, what would have been risk in another case is, in this case, a response of love and gratitude to the trustworthy one. That is, to our ever-loving, ever-strong, ever-reliable God.
So, let's have some hoopla! Let's celebrate the grace of God. Hope in Him never disappoints. (Rom 5:5)