It’s rare that I ever get stopped by a verse such that I just have to write about it and it alone. Particularly when it comes in a greeting. But this one stopped me.
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours.
I’ve read that verse many times in the NIV, and I’ve always liked it, but as I read the ESV today, that last part struck me. The ESV puts it this way:
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours.
Think about that a minute. Here is Simon Peter, one of the 12 original apostles of Christ, and one of the inner circle to boot. And he tells a bunch of people who had never even seen Jesus before, “Your faith is of equal standing with ours.”
Perhaps as he said that, he recalled Jesus’ words to Thomas,
Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:29)
“Yes,” Peter is saying, “I have actually seen him. I saw his glory on the mountain when he was tranfigured before my very eyes, and I heard the very voice of God. I saw Christ’s resurrection. But your faith is just as precious and of equal standing as mine in the eyes of God. For though you have not seen, yet you have believed.”
So often, we think of ourselves as second-class citizens as Christians. We put ourselves on a lower scale than others. Than the pastors in our churches. Than our Christian friends in the church. But if our faith is of equal standing with Peter in the eyes of God, then isn’t our faith of equal standing with the other believers around us as well?
That’s also a humbling message for those who have been Christians for a long time. It can be tempting to look down on others for their lack of Biblical knowledge or maturity.
And certainly God calls us all to grow. It is in fact one of the key themes of this book, that we would all grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, becoming more and more like him each day.
But remember, you are no better than anyone else.
Nor are you inferior to anyone else.
We are all saved by grace alone. We weren’t saved because we were any better than the others around us. Rather we were saved by the righteousness of Christ, who lived a perfect life on this earth and then paid the penalty for our sin on the cross. And now, through him, we are all declared righteous in God’s sight if we will only put our trust in him.
How do you see yourself? As better than other believers? As inferior?
Remember how God sees you. As people who are on equal standing. As people with a faith that is truly precious in the eyes of God.
So let us stop comparing ourselves to others. Rather, let us rest in his love and grace each day.