“Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
What an amazing, intriguing greeting!
Those words come to us in the form of personal letters, as recorded in the Bible, by several renowned early church leaders. Peter, John, Jude, James and especially Paul wrote numerous letters to various church groups and younger disciples. When we examine their letters, this common, familiar greeting was used by all men.
Paul an extraordinary evangelist as well as prolific writer, wrote to those at Corinth, Thessalonica, Galatia, Colossus, Philippi and Ephesus, and in each letter he began his greetings with: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:2)
Peter similarly greeted those he wrote to: “God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ … Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” (1 Peter 1:1-2)
John also carried the same warm, pastoral words: “To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come…” (Revelation 1:4)
Those timeless greetings convey so much – written not only to the first century Christians, but their appeal and intent reach across the millennia to us today.
Note the priority. Grace first, then peace. It’s interesting that again and again it appears in that order. It’s God’s grace which brings about peace.
So, we could say, without grace there can be no peace.
Luke, another early church disciple and missionary, summed it up well when he recorded the chorus of angels heralding the birth of Jesus: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.” (Luke 2:14)
God’s Grace is His unmerited favour towards us, and Jesus’ coming, both past and future, heralds Grace and Peace.
Perhaps, more than ever before, there is a genuine need for Grace and Peace in the world today. May you, in Peter’s words, experience “Grace and Peace in abundance”.
By John Klassek