I love the way Paul greeted other believers in his letters. It truly is a wonderful salutation. It is highly encouraging to the recipient, at the same time, the emphasis is Godward. In an interesting sense, we do this unknowingly each time we say “goodbye” to someone. The origin of the word “goodbye” means “God be with you.” How wonderful is that
Why did Paul pen this phrase “grace to you and peace from God”? What was he trying to convey to believers? I think the reason is that these two terms are a beautiful summary of our Christian faith.
Christianity is all about grace. You and I are saved by God’s grace alone. If the Lord did not prepare a way for us through Christ, we would have no hope of salvation. We would have to pay eternally for our sins. It is His grace that saves us from sin and empowers us to live a victorious life in Him.
Christianity is the fulfilment of the Old Testament peace. Without Christ taking our guilty place on the cross, we will still be enemies of God. Peace with God begins when we repent of our sin and place faith in the Son. Then and only then, we become friends of God.
We need the grace and peace of God in our lives. These spiritual realities change everything in the person when it is rightly received. The apostle Paul would be a great example of this truth. Before becoming a follower of Jesus, he was all about the law. The law is good, but without a transformed life, the law is a burden to uphold.
Paul’s former belief was that by keeping the law, he would have peace with God. Ultimately, he was trying to earn his salvation by works. He did not quite understand that till God met him on the road to Damascus. Jesus revealed to Paul that he was on the wrong side of faith. Paul thought he was serving God by persecuting the Christians when he was coming against the Lord.
What a shock that must have been for Paul. But that was a most critical turning point for him. For the Lord’s grace and peace had now come upon him. And Paul became a Christ-follower. What about you, dear reader? Have you encountered God’s grace and peace? Or are you still trying to earn your right to heaven?
Here is how you know. If you find God’s ways and laws burdensome, or you see little to no fruit of the Spirit in your life or little victory over sin, it is a good indication that you have not received the grace and peace of Christ. So how do we receive it? We must seek the Lord and ask for it. The bible instructs us to “seek the Lord while He may be found.” It is the seeking of Christ that will lead one to find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13)
When God is truly in your life, everything changes. What once was all about you, will become all about Him. That is why the statement we learn from Paul is so powerful. The focus is on what God has done and is still doing; not what we did or used to be. As you receive the words “grace and peace”, be empowered to give it out to other Christians as well. May we truly receive more and more of our Lord’s grace and peace! Amen.