In Peter’s opening salutation to the churches, he addresses those who have received a precious faith. The agency of receiving that faith is apparently through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. This little statement is rich with implications…
1 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…
To start with, Peter clearly refers to Jesus as God, Saviour, and Christ. Peter, who was so clear in answering Jesus in Mark 8:29 – you are the Christ – is still affirming the identity of Jesus some thirty years later. Equality with the Father in heaven is a core part of Jesus’ identity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the persons of God, and each is fully God as part of the Trinity.
And so it is through Jesus’ righteousness that we have received our faith. At first glance I was unsure of this – caught off guard by Peter’s statement. I almost went past it as he is greeting his recipients (I took it as a ‘hello’ at first). Yet when you think it through, the righteousness of Jesus is essential for our faith.
I reflected, what would happen to my faith if Jesus was NOT righteous? Paul writes in Romans 1:17 than in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed. Furthermore, in Romans 3:22 the righteousness of God is given to us through faith in Jesus. Paul continues in Romans 8:10 to reveal that when Christ is in us, even though our bodies will die because of sin, the Holy Spirit gives life because of righteousness.
Jesus, who is our righteousness (1Corinthians 1:30), who knew no sin became sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God on earth (2Corinthians 5:21).
It turns out that the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ is very critical to our faith – to our ability to gain it and the integrity of it. If Jesus is not righteous, then he certainly is not God, he could not be Messiah (Christ), and therefore could not act as our Saviour.
For his righteousness,
For his sacrifice,
For our faith!