Grace means unmerited favor. Peace means quietude and freedom from concern. When we receive grace from anyone, and have peace with them also, (spouse, family, brethren, friends, co-workers) we are content, and even as we enjoy it we wish it could continue forever, knowing full well it won’t. Everything in our relationships seem to have a limited life. But Paul didn’t see it that way!
The Apostle opens each one of his epistles from Romans through Philemon by using the title phrase of “grace and peace unto you.” (Only in Hebrews do we not find such a greeting, and while many believe he wrote that epistle, this is one evidence against it.)
It is amazing to see the consistency with which Paul opens his Epistles by using this phrase. In fact it is more than just this phrase, he uses the sentence, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” To Timothy and Titus (but not Philemon) he expands it to, “Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you.” These words had an appreciation to Paul that is not as readily apparent to us. Paul praised the fact that this Grace and Peace (and mercy to the Elders on a mission) came from “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” These were not from men and would fade away, but from God and Christ with a guarantee of permanence.
Grace in all these cases is from the Greek word Charis (Strong’s 5485). It means good will, loving-kindness, favor, and when perfectly attained it is a condition which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm and loveliness. It is the free gift of God to us; unmerited by anything we have done or can do. By it, we have access to Christ, to justification, to every blessing and to sanctification. There is nothing we receive from God that is not by grace. If we could receive all which Grace offers to us, we would have perfectly attained it. What a phenomenal gift grace itself is, and what rich gifts it brings to us!
Peace in all these cases is from the Greek word Eirene (Strong’s 1515). It means harmony and concord between persons or groups, and a condition of security, safety, prosperity, felicity, and tranquility. When perfectly achieved it is a state of such assurance and of such contentment, that nothing else would be sought or desired. It excludes every concern and includes every right desire.
May we be as impressed in heart with this as was Paul, and pray this for our brethren. May we all advantage ourselves of these to receive in full and permanent measure all that they offer and assure. Let them not become common. Hear this prayer, not only when you read the opening of Paul’s Epistles, but hear it from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ every time you converse with them, or with the brethren. Take not the Grace of God in vain, and miss not the Peace that passes all understanding. Receive all the blessings they offer.
Let us always greet each other in thought, if not in word, with “Grace and Peace unto you from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ,” that it might have the same impact in our hearts and lives as it did for Paul.
J. Knapp ©CDMI