Saturday, December 30, 2023

 Grace to You and Peace 

Greg  Gilliam Pastor
Grace Christian Assembly
Kansas City, Missouri

“...Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 1:2; Phil. 1:2; Col. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:2; Philemon 1:3) “Grace, Mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord” (I Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Titus 1:4). The Apostle Paul’s calling was to be the apostle to the Gentiles - (Gal. 2:7,8; Eph. 3:8). He traveled extensively, as the Holy Spirit directed, to different places to share the gospel of the grace of God.

He also wrote, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As we can see from the references above, each letter contains a salutation. Webster defines a salutation as an expression of greeting, good will; or courtesy by word. The Apostle was a mouthpiece for God. Thus, the salutation given is from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace: It is so hard to define a word such as grace. We may think of the favor (an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual) of God. It is unmerited (not deserved). Undeserved (not warranted, or earned). We read in Eph. 2:5, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Grace played a big part in our salvation. God showed an act of kindness toward each man and woman by giving His Son, Jesus. Jesus showed an act of kindness toward us in that while we were yet sinners He died for us (Rom. 5:8). What God the Father and the Son did was not deserved by any of us. In fact, we deserved death (wages of sin is death - Rom. 6:23). 

Notice Eph. 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: It is the gift of God:” We see through the eyes of the Spirit this grace and we accept it for ourselves by faith.  

If this new life is started by grace then it will be maintained by grace. Eph. 2:9, “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Those that truly lay hold of this grace, that we have been given, learn to walk under grace. 

What do I mean by this statement?  We see what grace has done in our lives and no longer want to live any longer under sin (Rom. 6:1-2). Not wanting sin to reign in our bodies (V. 12). Not yielding our members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin V. 13. We are alive, unto God, It is this grace that is our instructor teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; our eyes focused on the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-13).

The Apostle Paul shared that he was given a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him, lest he should be exalted above measure (2 Cor. 12:7). He sought the Lord for the thing to depart on multiple occasions  (2 Cor. 12:8).  Here is the answer the Lord gave to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee:  for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9). His grace sustains us.

Peace: The other part of the salutation from God and the Lord Jesus Christ includes peace.  Before we came to Christ we were enemies with God (Rom. 5:10).  However, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. We are now drawn close, being called Sons of God. What brought the reconciliation - Christ became the sacrifice for sins, taking upon himself the sin of the entire world. We acknowledge by faith that when Christ died we died with Him, His death paid the price for our sins. 

We sing a little chorus…’He paid a debt He did not owe.  We owed a debt we could not pay.  We needed someone to wash our sins away. And now we sing a brand new song, “Amazing Grace.” Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.’ We are dead with Jesus and now alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:11). We are made nigh by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13). We are called fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God (Eph. 2:19). 

John 1:12 says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” 1 John 3:1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 

Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” The peace with God is one aspect of the peace provided for us. Another aspect of peace is the daily provision of peace. We encounter many things in this life that would trouble us. Jesus’ comforting words to his disciples as they faced the fact that He would be leaving them is John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. V. 27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 

God has made provision for us to lay hold of the peace of God. Phil. 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Dear one, whatever you are facing today let the peace of God rule within your heart and mind.  

Peace, peace, wonderful peace

Coming down from the Father above

Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray

In fathomless billows of love.

The apostle Paul carried this sweet salutation, of grace and peace, to the different ones from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  May we, like the ones these letters were written to, be reminded of His grace and peace.

“...Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”