Food for Friday

Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:2

Did you ever notice that all of Paul’s epistles to Assemblies include the salutation ‘Grace be to you, and peace’ or some variation of it? When he writes to individuals, such as Timothy and Titus, he expands it to ‘grace, mercy, and peace’. Is this greeting just a nice style that Paul has adopted, like most of us do in our letters? Or is there a deeper meaning behind Paul’s use of this term? Remember, the Holy Spirit does not include anything in Scripture that is not necessary or important. In his greeting, Paul combines two forms of greeting to form one. A standard greeting for a Greek or other Gentile was ‘Grace to you’. A standard greeting for a Jew was ‘Peace to you’, or ‘Shalom’. By uniting these two greetings into one, Paul is emphasizing the unity of the Assembly regardless of the makeup of its members.

Unity in God’s Assembly is impossible by ourselves. So God gives us His grace and His peace. An Assembly that appreciates the grace of God and the peace of God will be a harmonious Assembly. The grace of God brings us into a place where we don’t deserve to be. As sinners, we had no right to enjoy fellowship with God or with His people. As saints, we have been seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, enjoying all of the riches of His blessings. The grace of God unites us in thanksgiving and appreciation. So does the peace of God. We were once at enmity with God, and with each other. The peace of God has replaced that enmity, and we now rejoice in the Lord’s presence, and in the presence of His people. The anger, resentment, envy, and all the other emotions and attitudes that were once part of our unredeemed life are washed away in the wonder of the peace of God.

Note that the grace and peace Paul speaks of are from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. If we receive this grace and peace from God, we ought to show them in our own lives. As God has been gracious to us, we ought to be gracious to others, especially including those of the household of faith. We need to display grace even to those who don’t deserve it. After all, we didn’t deserve the grace we received from the Lord. We also didn’t deserve the peace we received, either. So, now that we are at peace with God, we must also be at peace with our fellow believers.

God has bestowed His grace and peace on His Assemblies. We will appreciate these great blessings only if we bestow our grace and peace on all who are in His Assembly. -Jim MacIntosh

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