“Grace and peace to you from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ”
This was a common greeting of Pauls. However he did not use words or expressions without real meaning and significance. We need to remember that he was an apostle by the will of God, commissioned by Jesus Christ Himself, filled with the Holy Spirit and entrusted with the responsibility of bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. As He spoke the words given to him by God he would have expected that they would have carried with them God’s meaning and blessing.
Grace is God’s great love reaching out to embrace us. It is His free, unmerited, unrestricted, unconditional, and creative love in action. It cannot be earned and is never deserved. To those who receive it comes the forgiveness of sins as well as a new standing and relationship with God in the intimacy of Father and child. It is the means through which our lives and characters are transformed. It opens our eyes to the expression of God’s beauty and love in our world. It is most fully revealed in the human life and atoning death of Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
Peace is God having reconciled sinners to Himself and to each other in His new community of the body of Jesus Christ – the church. Through Christ’s life, death and resurrection we are united to Him and to all others similarly joined to Him. As branches of the Vine, and members of the body, we are all in a living relationship with each other. There is intended to be no division, separation, dispute or disharmony. We are one family in the truest sense of the word..
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19-20)
When friends or family meet they often kiss each other, embrace each other or shake hands. There is a giving and receiving. Paul in his greeting is doing the same. He is acknowledging the grace and peace of God that has blessed both him and his readers. He is reminding them of God’s great gifts of His grace and peace resulting in our new and redeemed relationship with Him. And he is, on behalf of God – indeed instructed by Him it would seem – continuing the outpouring of these gifts which God wishes us to be continually receiving and living from.
Take a moment to receive God blessing. Breathe in His grace – His love embracing and filling you. Breathe in His peace – all is well between you and Him. Let them influence your day and all whom you meet.
Thank You Lord God for Your great and active love that has re-united me with You and brought peace between us. As I receive it with great thanksgiving so let me pass it on to others through the way that I think, speak and live, to Your glory. Amen.