Most often, if I’m thinking about grace I’m thinking about the grace that was or, the grace that is. The “grace that was” was the grace that took an enemy of God and invited him to be a child of God . . . the grace that called a deaf man to hear the Savior’s invitation . . . the grace that led a blind man to see, by faith, the Lord of Light. It’s the amazing grace we sing about that “saved a wretch like me.” The “grace that is” is the grace that is sufficient for the here and now. It is the grace sufficient for my weaknesses . . . the grace poured out to cover my waywardness . . . the abundant grace flowing as living water so that, when even in a dry land, my thirst is satisfied in His wonderfulness. Yup . . . when I think of grace, I most often go to what was and what is. This morning I’m reminded of the grace that will be.
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1Peter 3:7 ESV)
Peter’s writing to “the elect exiles” . . . to believers who have been scattered abroad due to religious persecution . . . people on the lam because they are followers of the Lamb. The pressure has been turned up on these Christians and so, Peter writes to them to remind them of their future . . . of their hope . . . of their inheritance . . . and of their calling as God’s holy people. And he also gives them some pretty practical counsel and encouragement about maintaining godly relationships. Where there’s persecution there’s stress . . . and where there’s stress, there’s a natural temptation for people to turn on other people . . . even people they love.
And it’s while I’m reading the exhortation to husbands and wives about the secret of keeping it together in their exile-fueled pressure cooker of a life, that I’m reminded of the grace that will be.
Though the Christian husband and wife have different roles in their marriage . . . though they bring different constitutions to their relationship . . . on the most foundational of levels they share the same standing . . . they are joint heirs of the grace of life. They are equal partners in the things that encompass salvation in that they have both known the grace that saves. There is no difference in the Spirit that seals them both and allows them both to abundantly receive the grace that sustains. And, as I’m reminded this morning, they are heirs together of the grace that will be . . . the grace of life.
It’s the only time you find the phrase, grace of life, in the Bible. The main point of the verse is husbands treating their wives in a way that shows honor, a way that demonstrates the high esteem she has in his eyes . . . just as she has been highly valued through the price paid for her soul, the precious blood of the Son of God. But while the main point is the husband’s deference to his wife, the standing they share that demands such honoring treatment is the grace of life.
And I think, because it’s referred to as an inheritance, that the grace of life is the grace to come. Peter has already written of their inheritance which is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1:4). And he has already encouraged them to view their current situation in light of that future reality, “preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:13). And it is that “grace that will be brought to you” which is the “grace of life.” The inheritance shared by a believing man and his believing wife. That future focus which should act as a current catalyst for the love and respect that is to be present in a Christian home.
The grace of life should compel me to live a life of grace . . . starting at home and extending to all relationships. The grace of life is the grace that will be . . . the grace that “brought me safe thus far” and, the grace that will “lead will me home.”
To Him be all glory for the grace of life.