GRACE AND PEACE TO YOU!
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:2)
*GRACE is not easy to define. There is some mystery associated with it. Generally, grace is defined as the unmerited favor of God to men. Favor is something you don’t deserve. You have no right to receive it in any shape of form. You are entirely unworthy and undeserving of such favor. Grace is the beginning of our faith and peace is the end of our faith. Grace is like the source of a river coming down the mountain. After a long distance, passing thru many places, the river enters the sea, which is the peace. Therefore, peace is the end product of grace.
*PEACE is more than the end of a war. It does not mean just quietness and rest, though it may include that. In Greek, the root word of the word peace is ‘union’. It means a spiritual union. It means two people who were separated, come together again. This is reconciliation after a quarrel. Two enemies who have been fighting put down their weapons, look at one another, shake hands and embrace themselves. That union is called peace. In Christ, both Jew and Gentile live now in peace (Eph 2:14). The middle wall of separation has been broken. The two former enemies are now one. They have peace with God and with one another. This is ‘the peace that passes all understanding’ and it is the work of the Holy Spirit (Phil 4:7). Only the believers experience this type of peace. It is independent of circumstances. It is the peace found in the center of the storm.
THE PEACE OF GOD
First and foremost, the Gospel of Christ gives a man peace in his soul. The Bible reveals that there are four types of peace:
*Peace with God (Rom 5:1). Thru the Cross, we have been reconciled with God. Because of what God has done by His grace, in Christ, the enmity between us and God is gone.
*Peace within (Col 3:15). This peace enables a man, for the first time in his life, to answer an accusing conscience; to have rest in his mind and heart. He can now live with himself without guilt and a restless heart. He now knows that all is well with his soul. The conflict between him and God has ended. He now understands for the first time the cause of all his troubles. He now sees that there is a way to overcome all his difficulties. He has a glimpse of the final victory awaiting him in Christ!
*Peace with others (PV 16:7). Having peace with God and with himself, the Christians now has peace with other people. From the moment he becomes born again, he sees everything and everybody in a new way. Nothing is the same to him. When he looks at his enemy, he pities him. He knows that his enemy is blind and in bondage to sin and to satan. He starts to pray for his enemy. The enmity has been abolished by this new view brough to him by grace. He forgives his enemy. He now desires to be reconciled with him and to live in peace with all men (Heb 12:14).
*The peace of God. The believer has not only peace WITH GOD, but also, he has peace OF GOD. He now has the same type of peace God Himself has. “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7). Not only that God has given you peace, but He has provided for the preservation of that peace. This peace is independent of the circumstances. It is a gift from Jesus, the Prince of Peace!
Please remember that this peace comes to us as a result of the grace of God. Grace and peace are always connected. As sinners, we deserve nothing, we do not even desire peace and we cannot achieve it. God comes to us and by His grace, He saves us and gives us His peace. How wonderful! Grace and peace are both free gifts of God. How does this grace and peace come to us? The source of it all is God, our Father in heaven! Before the foundation of the world, by His grace, God chose us to be in Christ Jesus. He decided in Himself that He will show infinite favor to some people (Eph 1:4-6; Heb 8:10-12). He said to Himself: “I will be their Father and they will be My people!” The amazing grace of God started our salvation! The same grace will perfect it! This grace has changed us completely! Hallelujah!
God is the Creator of all men, but He is Father to only the chosen ones. I can create a piece of artwork, a painting for example, and hand it on the wall. But I am not the Father of that painting. Fatherhood connotes kind. It implies resemblance. My children look like me and they speak like me. God has called us His children and He has given us His spirit of adoption (Rom 8:15, 29). The religious Jews mocked Jesus. He told them that they are the sons of the devil and not of God (Jn 8:44).
Not many Christians appreciate the grace of God enough. If you want to know how great this grace is, look first and see the depths and ugliness of sin. But no matter how bad your sin was, grace is deeper and higher than any sin! “Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Rom 5:20). Grace is infinitely deeper than sin! Grace is older than sin! Grace was ‘born’ before the foundation of the world. Sin was ‘born’ only during the life of Adam. These revelations are difficult to understand. You need the Holy Spirit to understand them. The religious unbelievers will misinterpret this truth and will take the grace of God in vain. They will continue in sin that grace may abound. If you hear these words and you are not moved to repent and worship God for His grace, then you are not a child of God! You have crashed into the Kingdom of God ‘thru the window’, ignoring Jesus who is the Door! You may call yourself a Christian, but you are not saved!
Finally, let us appreciate God for His love, mercy, grace, and peace! We started by grace and we shall end by grace. Even in the journey of life, the grace of God is all-sufficient! It is all we need. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). What a Savior! “Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound; That saved a wretch like me; I once was lost, but now am found; T’was blind but now I see!” Worship the Lord!
(From a sermon preached by Pastor Richmond Sisan Leigh)