Various Grace for Various Trials

March 18, 2017 by Jong Park

1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace”

One of the major themes of 1 Peter is suffering, which Peter himself adamantly tried to deny all his life. Jesus had to break his robust disciple of this false triumphant notion that Christian life was all victories and no tears. Jesus himself wept, ached, suffered, and overcame. Christian life is not void of suffering, rather it is to rise above the suffering with the strength of God. The crown comes after the cross. Glory is shaped with the raw materials of pain and tears.

This verse about spiritual gifts is tucked in the middle of all that talk about suffering. Peter calls it “God’s varied grace.” To the alternate society – the church – God gives spiritual gifts as various means of grace for our various trials. We can’t conjure up our own weapons against the forces of Satan. We must receive every ammunition from the Holy Spirit to blow away sin. There must be constant dependencies for we are inadequate in our state of independence apart from God and one another.

Peter knew this better than anyone. Jesus told him to pray but he slept. So when the moment of crisis came and he saw the flickering torches in the night carried by the servants of the high priest and the Roman cronies, he panicked, grabbed steel, and chopped off Malchus’ ear. In short, he resorted to his strength. And then, he ran, of course.

Jesus, on the contrary, was ready. While good old Peter had slept, Jesus had prayed up, was filled up, and he was ready to be poured out. The God-man did not order the legion of angels to come to his aid. He called only on His Father for strength to complete redemptive history. He received much grace in his time of need so that he could serve us, which is what we are to do with our gifts (“serve one another” v.10).

God’s grace is not flat. It is not one-dimensional. It is varied grace, multi-colored grace, sufficient grace … all for us weak people when we feel the cold raindrops of life falling on our brows.

That leaves just one more question: how do we exactly receive this grace? Pray, pray, pray. (v. 7)

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