Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.2 Corinthians 1:2(KJV)
"Grace and peace to you from God and from the Lord Jesus Christ," is a well-loved and oft-used greeting that the apostles used throughout their letters. No doubt they were also the chosen words that fell from the lips of many Christians in those early days of the Church, when they gathered together for worship, teaching, the breaking of bread, and prayer.
"Grace and peace to you from God and from the Lord Jesus Christ," is commonly associated with Paul and other New Testament writers, and within this simple expression is a wealth of truth and a peep into the very nature of God and His immutable and eternal attributes.
It was as a result of God's dazzling grace and unmerited favour towards the whole of the human race, that His plan of redemption was formulated in the eternal counsel chambers of heaven. It was by grace that God's boiling anger and righteous judgement against man's wickedness and sin was poured out in full measure on an appointed sin-Substitute, our perfect Kinsman-Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. He did this so that lost sinners might be saved from God's judgement and have peace with God, by grace through faith in Him.
That sacrificial offering upon Whom God's wrath was poured, was the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son Who received the punishment for sin that we justly deserve. He died in our place so that by faith in Him we would not be condemned, but clothed in His righteousness and receive life everlasting, as well as His perfect peace.
It is by grace that the Holy Spirit is in the world today, convicting the sinner of sin, righteousness, and judgement so that by grace through faith in Christ, that sinner may become a saint. The man who is dead in trespasses and sins and at enmity with God, may be become His child, receive forgiveness of sin, and gain peace with God: "For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men."
But it is the all-encompassing grace of God that is so treasured by believers, for having made peace with God we are enabled to receive the peace of God in our hearts and the ability to grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Saviour, Jesus Christ: "For the grace of God has appeared," instructing us, guiding us, teaching us, and conforming us, day by day, into the likeness of Christ.
Grace must always precede peace, for it is only by His grace that the sinner may have peace with God. And it is only by His grace that the believer can access His grace, continue in grace, and grow in grace so that we may have the peace of God which passes all understanding guarding our hearts and minds, as we live in Christ Jesus our Lord and His grace and peace is reflected in us.
Heavenly Father, thank You that Your grace and peace has been poured out on me in such abundance and on all who trust in the Lord Jesus. Thank You for Your saving grace, Your sanctifying grace, Your continuing grace, and Your all-encompassing grace. Thank You that I not only have peace with God, but that Your peace guards my heart as I look to Jesus and focus on Him. In Jesus' name, AMEN.