About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
Various Forms Of God's Grace
Peter 1:6 reads:
"In all this you
greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to
suffer grief in all kinds of trials."
Note the words "all
kinds" in the phrase "all kinds of trials."
They are translated from the Greek word "poikilos."
No, poikilos has no relation to Nintendo's Pokémon creatures.
Poikilos implies variety, diversity, or multi-faceted.
It suggests a variegation, as in a multi-coloured cloth.
When Genesis 37:3, in the Greek Old Testament, speaks of Joseph's
coat of many colours, the words "many colours" are translated
from the Greek word "poikilos."
So, those to whom Peter was writing were experiencing a poikilos
of suffering, a variety of types of suffering from a variety of sources.
Now read 1 Peter 4:10
"Each of you should
use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful
stewards of God’s grace in its various forms."
The words "various
forms" in the phrase "God's grace in its various forms,"
are also translated from "poikilos."
God's grace, then, is variegated or multi-faceted.
It comes in a variety of forms, in a variety of ways, and for a
variety of purposes, which includes both His unmerited mercy and His
divine ability given to us to accomplish His will in our lives.
I sincerely doubt that we can begin to fathom the totality of
If God's demonstration
of grace is so varied, so multi-faceted, so variegated, His very essence
must be so varied. What He
does is a product of who He is. That
being so, our limited human resources can never comprehend the
variegated essence of God. Our
wildest imaginations fall way short in our attempt to know the totality
of God. Just look at the
natural environment in which we exist, a product of God's creativity.
What we call nature is filled with so much variety of life forms
that we have yet to discover them all.
Variety is just part of who God is, and one way His essence is
demonstrated is through His varied forms of grace.
Putting the above two
verses together in the context of Peter's letter, I conclude with the
following. Those to whom
Peter was writing were suffering through a variety of grief-filled
trials, yet despite all of the accompanying stresses, God's various
forms of grace was available for them so they could serve one another in
the midst of the mess. How
could Peter have the audacity to suggest that God wanted His people to
serve one another in such times of stress-filled suffering?
Didn't they have more pressing things to attend to?
It was obviously God's will.
encouraging words into our day, I say this.
There are a variety of issues that are stressing the church
these days. They are ripping
communities of believers apart. Many
are walking away from long-standing relationships, but whatever the
case, this Biblical fact remains. There
are a variety of forms of grace available that can enable us to stay
together and serve one another in the midst of these divisive issues.
It's just the will of God in the midst of a mess.