Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. – Ephesians 1:2-4 ESV
Now that is a greeting! A typical greeting in America is a head nod, it is a handshake, maybe a ‘good morning\evening, a smile and an insincere, ‘how are you’? This was Paul’s typical greeting. It was GRACE, it was PEACE and then some form of doxology about the GLORY of GOD. Grace to you was the typical GREEK greeting. PEACE, or shalom, is the typical Hebrew greeting. So Paul honored both the Greek and the Jew. As always, it was way more than just a politically correct salutation. It was about taking the traditional Greek meaning of Grace and putting God’s meaning of GRACE, called Jesus, to the word. Then, when we understand and accept that grace, we can then have the PEACE OF GOD! It is ALWAYS GRACE first and then PEACE. It is never Peace and Grace, it is GRACE and PEACE TO YOU! Until we know the GRACE OF GOD, we can never experience the PEACE OF GOD!
Leader Chuck Smith put it simply, “We will never know the PEACE OF GOD IN OUR LIFE, until we know the GRACE OF GOD towards us. Keep it Simple Soldier! WE must deny the wile of the enemy called Confusion. What is lacking in our world is PEACE. There are people burning down cities, destroying our education system and creating racial animosity all in the name of creating peace. Dr. J Vernon McGee would say, “We are all speaking the same language, but using different dictionaries”. The cry is NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE, however there will never be peace, because there is no justice this side of eternity. It is written, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. (Romans 3:23) It is also written, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it”. (James 2:10) The reason we need a Savior has its roots in the nature of God and the nature of man: first, the Bible says God has a plan and human beings are critical to that plan. Second, God is holy, and He cannot abide around, or be in the presence of sin. Third, every human being has sinned, and every human has an intrinsic sin nature. Here is the problem; living with God requires sinless perfection, and none of us is perfect. That is why we need a Savior—and Scripture identifies Him as Jesus Christ (Luke 2:11; Titus 2:13–14).
Conduit, now let’s wrap this up with the link that keeps the chain connected. Since we have been given grace, unmerited favor, God tells us to do the same to others. “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15) God also tells us, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:37-38) This is the Golden Rule; Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. What could any human being do, that is worse than what we do, and have done to God? In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus told a parable about forgiveness. A king who forgave a huge debt was angry when the one he’d forgiven demanded from another debtor that he be paid a much smaller debt owed to him. The king held the man accountable, reminding us that God has forgiven us a larger debt than we could ever repay. Grace and Mercy to you to the Glory of God. Our cries should be for MERCY, for GRACE, so that we can have the PEACE OF GOD! Be careful about your cries for Justice, the justice you cry for may someday come knocking at your door. No Jesus, No Peace. KNOW JESUS, KNOW PEACE!