Grace and Peace
Posted in Salvation
Scripture: “Paul an apostle—sent neither by human commission nor from human authorities, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead— and all the members of God’s family who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” – Galatians 1:1-5
Paul opens his letters with some form of these words: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is expanded here in Galatians differently than in any of his other letters. Oftentimes, we read these words and just gloss over them as an address, such as “Dear [so and so].” Paul says these words for a particular reason in his letters as an address. The words are partly to let the recipients know that Paul represents God to them. He comes, called by God, to bring God’s message to the people. God’s message is one of grace and peace.
This particular letter is different from Paul’s other letters, though, as Paul doesn’t praise the Galatians or give thanks for them as he does in his other letters. Paul begins by addressing evil and the desertion of the gospel by which they were saved. The Galatians have turned away from Paul and embraced what the Jewish Christians were teaching about following the Jewish law and tradition.
What does it mean to have the grace and peace of God the Father and the Lord Jesus bestowed upon you?
“Grace” in Greek is “charis” and means the unmerited operation of God in the heart of people, and for Paul it means the power of salvation. Grace is not just an attribute, but it is an action of goodness from and by God in our lives. It is the kindness of our Lord that is bestowed upon us through the death and resurrection of Jesus that bought us our salvation.
“Peace” in Greek is “iraynay” and is the taking again to restore a broken situation. It is a state of wholeness and completeness. Peace is a sense of tranquility from the assurance of our salvation. So, to have grace bestowed upon us from God is to receive and experience his salvation and to receive the peace that salvation provides for our souls. The combination brings about wholeness and relief of doubt and anxiety in our lives.
For the Galatians, who were believing that they needed to follow the Old Testament Law, Paul is telling them no- don’t believe those who are leading you astray. There is nothing that can take away our salvation. It is given and held by God in his grace and mercy, and makes us whole and in harmony with God and with one another. That is a great gift for the Galatians who were struggling with their salvation, and it is a gift for us as we trust that God’s Word is true about his care for us that has been extended to us in our salvation from sin and death.
May God’s grace and peace be present in your life this day and all of your days through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Prayer: Gracious God, we thank you for the salvation that you bestow upon us from Christ, may we be filled with your peace that comes from trusting in you. Help us to share your grace and peace with others, that they too might know what it means to rest in your goodness and grace. Amen.
Submitted by Rev. Dr. Lynn Grandsire