Grace & Peace
The words “grace and peace” make a fine introduction don’t they? Paul makes usage of those words in all thirteen of his epistles. But let’s not take the fact that Paul makes regular usage of the phrase to mean that it lacks importance. In fact, when you read your Bible and find a phrase used repeatedly it usually means quite the opposite. So consider this emphasized phrase with me.
Paul desired grace and peace to everyone. He desired it for those who had fallen from grace (Gal. 5:4) and to those who were an “example to all believers” (1 Thess. 1:7-8). He desired it for whole groups of Christians and even groups of churches and he desired it for individuals to whom he wrote. All of these letters are written to different people in different circumstances but the constant unchanging element is the desire for them to have grace and peace from God the Father. So whatever your individual circumstances may be, my universal desire for you is and will always be “grace and peace.”
These words are powerful but they are meaningless by themselves. Paul did not merely leave off with the hope of grace and peace but went on to aid them in knowing both. Some might read some of Paul’s words and question the sincerity of Paul’s desire for grace and peace. But, upon reflection we can see that even the most scathing rebuke is meant to bring grace to one who lacks it (Tit. 2:11-12). In addition to the instructions that bring grace to us, his letters are filled with the comfort and guidance that lead to true peace (Phil. 4:6-7). In fact, everything Paul writes falls under the hope and desire that he begins each letter with.
So, brethren, as we begin our work together, grace to you and peace. Grace and peace when I preach about God’s infinite love and care for us (1 Cor. 2:9). Grace and peace when I speak about God’s judgment on those who reject Him (1 Cor 6:9-10). Grace and peace when I encourage the good that is being done (1 Cor. 11:2). Grace and peace when I must call out sin among us (1 Cor. 11:17). In every sermon I preach, article I write, class I teach, I promise to make my aim to strive toward grace and peace.
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 1:3).