Grace to You and Peace From God
This week in the church's Bible Reading plan, we started into the book of Philippians. As I began the first chapter, I realized I kind of tend to glaze over reading Paul's introductions. "Grace to you and peace from God," is how Paul begins every one of his epistles. It is easy for us to think of this phrase simply as Paul's usual greeting, but if every word of the Bible is important and true, these words have meaning, as well. I decided to actually spend some time thinking about these words.
Grace and peace are words we use a lot as believers to refer to what we receive from God and what we give and experience with others. Sometimes the frequency of use can make us forget the importance of these words in both the receiving and giving of grace and peace. And yet we should use these words often, and really think of their meanings!
(Speaking of frequent use, you may be getting tired of how frequently I put definitions of words in my blogs. However, I have found that when I start truly thinking about God's word, I need a better understanding of the actual words we use!)
Merriam-Webster defines grace in several ways beginning with these : "unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification; a virtue coming from God; a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance; a disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency."
Peace is defined by Merriam-Webster as, " A state of tranquility or quiet; freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions; harmony in personal relations."
As I Iook more closely at these words, I realize that more than just a greeting, it is so important that we truly, consciously and willingly, receive these things from God. He has been so kind and gracious to us in sanctifying us, giving us new life, enabling us to have peace in relationship with Him that gives us freedom and harmony within and without. It is utterly impossible for us to give grace to others and have true peace within ourselves and in relation to others without first receiving and experiencing this from God!
And how can we possibly examine the meaning of these words without a heart of gratitude for God's kindness and love toward us?! He is great and greatly to be praised!
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."