Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:2)
In most Bible translations this verse reads: “Grace and peace to you,” as if grace and peace were two separate and independent gifts. But this is misleading. In fact, it’s the gift of grace that results in peace.
For the apostle Paul grace is the sum total of God’s goodness toward his human creatures. One theologian, Lewis Smedes, writes that grace is shorthand for all that Jesus Christ has done for us. Another, Karl Barth, defines grace as that merciful “Nevertheless!” with which God steps out from the mystery of his majesty and holiness and turns to address us as “beloved.” Grace isn’t grace without that “nevertheless.” We are sinners; nevertheless we become beloved saints when we receive God’s grace. To know this grace is to experience peace, a deep sense of well-being, of being saved.
A remarkable footnote to all this is that this grace and peace flow to us from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Our salvation is a joint venture. Jesus is no mere preacher who must wait till the fourth century and the Nicene Council to be assigned a divine status. From the very beginning he is an awesome Lord who works in cooperation with the Father and the Spirit for our total peace.
Lord Jesus, give us your grace that we may know peace. Amen.