In many of Paul’s letters to the churches, he either begins or concludes the address with “Grace and peace be unto you.” His desire is that the recipients of his letters will have experienced the grace of God which would in turn, foster peace in their hearts. Paul hopes for the realization of God’s infinite grace in the lives of his listeners/readers. That they might become “rich in everything” (1 Cor. 1:3-5) and “experience every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus,” (Eph. 1:3).
He did not, however, back down from the truth. For interwoven with his desire for grace and peace in the lives of his readers was his unwavering devotion to God’s timeless truth (Col. 1:5-6). The grace to which Paul is referring is not inter- or intra-personal. It is exclusively a gift from God – it is divine/celestial/heavenly. The peace that follows, therefore, cannot be determined by one’s own initiative, but solely through the eternal Word of God, and it’s effectual change on the life of the believer.
I share Paul’s sincere desire for my readers. I hope for you to have experienced the grace of God that leads to peace in your life. I have noticed in our postmodernized church culture that we are satisfied with accepting a Jesus who saves, but are not inclined to alter our lifestyles to comply with the Word of God. We want to live the benefits of a rescued soul, but refuse conformation to the character of Christ. There are many preachers and highly-influential motivational speakers out there from whom to choose. They seek to “scratch an itching ear” (2 Tim. 4:3) in efforts to impart peace onto your life. Their desire, above all else, is for your happiness. I, too, hope that you can be happy… but my greater desire is that you conform to the character of Christ Jesus. Only then can you experience true peace – the peace that God desires for you.
I pray that you will have experienced the eternity-changing grace of God, and that His peace may reign in your mortal body. As we consider the issues of our day together, it is my desire that we will view these through the spectacles of scripture – that we will approach all subjects with a biblical world-view, and that we will allow the eternal Word of God to “teach, rebuke, correct, and train us” mutually so that we can be “made complete, equipped for every good work,” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Grace and Peace.