Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.Ephesians 1:2(NASB)
I don't think there is a more meaningful greeting or significant salutation given to man, than this duet of grace and peace found in all Paul's letters. "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
The grace of God, which brings peace with God is the most important element in the whole of Scripture, for it is only through the grace of God that all His other characteristics can be manifested. Only by grace through faith can we receive the love of God which passes our understanding. Only by grace through faith can we experience the beautiful fruit of the Spirit in our hearts - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
It is only by God's grace - through faith, that man is redeemed from the slave-market of sin. It is only through the grace of God that He formulated His plan of Salvation. It is only by His gift of grace that we are forgiven of our sin and declared righteous before God, through the redemption, which is in Christ Jesus.
By His grace we are being sanctified through the Spirit, day by day and by grace we are being conformed into the image and likeness of Christ. By grace, a day is coming when we will receive a new, resurrected body and be glorified, as we stand in His glorious presence and see Him as He truly is. It is by the amazing grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ that we are not eternally condemned and bound for the lake of fire.
It is by grace that we enjoy fellowship with God, and through grace that we have a heavenly Mediator because, by grace, we were rescued from Satan's clutches, adopted into the family of God and have become a joint heir with Christ. By grace, we have the indwelling Spirit of God, to lead and guide, to help and comfort. By grace we have an inheritance kept for us in heaven, and through His gift of grace, we have God's multifaceted peace - peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and the peace of God to guard our heart.
It is significant that whenever Paul writes this meaningful salutation in His epistles, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ", it is always Grace that is the leading blessing, while Peace is the privilege that follows in its wake.
GRACE is the highest expression of God's loving-kindness and benevolent blessings to man which is translated into God's unconditional, unmerited favour and showers super-abundant blessings on all who trust in His name. It is only by grace that the sin barrier between man and God can be broken down, through faith - and we can receive peace with God.
PEACE is not simply freedom from conflict. It is not merely an escape from civil disturbances or harmony in personal relationships. Nor is it a state of induced tranquillity or the exclusion of disquieting thoughts and oppressive emotions. It is more than mutual concord between governments, an agreement to stop hostility or a treaty to end aggression between people at war or those in a state of enmity.
The peace that flows from the grace of God embraces a multiplicity of meanings including peace with God, as a free gift of salvation to all that believe, as well as the peace of God which imparts a tranquillity of soul - which is beautifully bestowed, through His Spirit of peace, into the heart of a believer, who is walking in spirit and truth.
Both peace WITH God and the peace OF God are impossible without grace - the unconditional, unmerited gracious favour of God our Father and the gracious love and tender mercy, that was poured out for us on Calvary's cross.
We live in an increasingly ungracious environment in an increasingly unlovely and hostile world-in-conflict, but as God's children, we are to absorb this duet of complementary characteristics, Grace and Peace, into the warp and weft of our beings. And we are to show forth His loving-kindness; patient endurance; gracious favour and perfect peace through the witness of our lives - which is only possible as we rest in Him.
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." has become a familiar and well-loved greeting, through the letters of Paul, but I doubt that in time or in eternity we will gain a full depth of understanding of what the all-embracing grace of God and the supernatural peace of God truly means. But in the words of the apostle Peter - May grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.
Thank You, Father, for Your grace in my life and that Your grace is sufficient in all the difficulties that I am facing. It was Your grace that sought me out and saved me and it is Your grace that keeps me and holds me. Thank You that by grace, through faith, I have peace with God and have access to the peace of God in my heart. I pray that your perfect peace may permeate through my soul as I rest in Your grace today and grow in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus in the days that lie ahead. To You be praise and glory forever, in Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.