Grace and Peace
Read Ephesians 1:1-2
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is the significance of Paul using a greeting that says, “grace to you and peace”?
If you have read any of Paul’s epistles, you will notice that Paul follows a particular format when he writes to the churches that was standard. He includes a salutation that tells us that he is the author and sender of the letter. He tells us that this letter was intended to be received by the believers in Ephesus. Then, he gives a customary greeting.
But this isn’t just a greeting with polite niceties. The greeting itself is a prayer for the believers in Jesus in Ephesus. Paul is praying for the readers and hearers of these words to be blessed with “grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The fact that he addressed this to “saints” implies that the recipients of this letter have already accepted God’s grace. Grace means “unmerited favor.” We do not deserve to be justified and made right with God. As sinners, we do not merit salvation. But through Jesus Christ, God offers us a free gift of salvation. And when we accept that gift, we receive His grace. We are then referred to as “saints” or “the faithful in Christ Jesus.”
So why does Paul pray for God to bestow His grace on the saints who have already received it? Because we do not stop receiving God’s unmerited favor the minute we accept Christ. Rather, the moment we accept His unmerited favor in Christ, we begin to receive His unmerited favor continually.
This is God’s sustaining grace that Paul is referring to in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This is the grace that enables us to do what God has called us to do. This is the grace that empowers us by the Holy Spirit to live as Jesus has called us to live. This is the grace that preserves and perseveres us until we see Him face to face.
Paul also offers a prayer for peace to the saints. Once we accept God’s grace, we are justified to God and are therefore at peace with God. Again, this peace is ongoing. We are now at peace with God so we can continually experience peace from God in our lives. This is the peace that calms our fears and allows us to rest in His Sovereignty.
Friends, as saints and faithful believers in Jesus Christ, you too can continually experience God’s grace and peace. My prayer for you today is that you will embrace the grace and peace that Christ offers you daily.
Father, thank You for Your gift of grace and peace. I know that I do not deserve it, but I am so grateful that You have not only made me right with you and offered me salvation but that You also sustain me daily. I accept the grace and peace that I need to live for You today. Amen.