Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:3
In a greeting, we wish people well-being. Paul, wishes for grace and peace from God and Jesus Christ unto the believers. Grace takes me from here to there. Grace walks me step by step, day by day to the throne of God. I love this definition of grace: “the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.” I’m reminded of it in Your Word, here, Lord, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in me will continue it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Grace is underserved merit yet it is a continual process. Grace came to me and saved me, sealed me with The Promise. Grace continues to work through The Promise to continue the good work it began in me until it has brought me into a perfect and intimate relationship with You, Jesus. Lord, I must realize that I shall not be complete or in my “perfected” state until both body and soul have been changed. Like You, I must endure the flesh for a season as the flesh imposes upon me restrictions from complete intimacy with You. Yet I now have power in You to control and guide those restrictions. That’s probably part of the reason You prayed for us.
You were in complete intimacy with God in Heaven. As man, You took on the restrictions of the flesh. You know how it feels to long for physical and spiritual intimacy. You can understand our longing. You know what it is to be so busy in the world with the affairs and care of men that it would keep You from time with God if it could. But You made time, probably after a long, hard, spiritually and physically draining day of expending Yourself for others, when sleep probably beckoned softly and sweetly. Yet You turned her down for intimacy with God. So I too, can order my day and make time to seek that same intimacy. I can deny my physical weakness and receive strength through and in communion with You. This is grace.
Peace. The Greek word eirene has to do with “the absence of war” which leads to “health, well-being, and tranquility.” But the Hebrew idea stems from the word shalom. The Hebrew is all about relationships instead of conditions. When I get relationships right, other things work out. I mean tidyng my house all day doesn’t insure right relationships with my family. Working to provide for my family doesn’t insure healthy relationships with them. Throwing myself wholeheartedly into my ministry doesn’t mean I have a right relationship with You and those around me.
Peace is not about physical prosperity but richness in the Lord, confidence in the Lord. This richness, confidence, and intimacy produced through the workings of grace allow me quietness and rest and patience and understanding knowing that You, God, are not only in control of my life but that You are in control of every situation and every life around me. You expect, no, You daily perform in my heart and life what You desire at the rate and time You deem right for me personally. And that goes for the others around me. Grace is not a magic trick that all of a sudden appears and then is over. It has a sudden onset through salvation, but then constantly works to mold, perfect, build, and lift up. Peace takes me through all the changes in confidence and love with patience. Peace helps me hold things together concerning others because I can remember the grace I was shown and given and extend that to them and myself.
Because grace is never disappointed in me but always looks to who I will be, I can have peace. And I can look that way at those around me. Grace retains the lesson of my sin, yet removes the stain of sin far from me so that I may be set free. Peace is knowing this and extending it to others. Grace holds no records of wrong. Peace is experiencing that and extending it to others.
In John 14:27, Jesus comforted His disciples withthese words, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Here You were, Lord, preparing them for Your coming death. You weren’t leaving them with a greeting to grant them happiness and prosperity. You were preparing them for events that would turn their world upside down by leaving Your peace. Now You were alive but You knew You were going to die. And You were telling them, don’t be afraid. Why could they not be afraid because You have left Your peace? Because Your peace was an unending relationship, an unending intimacy with You. They could only have that relationship when You finished Your mission. You gave it to us and left if for us. Unbroken fellowship with God given to us, left for us. You gave “present-moment peace” to know and have the confidence that my relationship with God has been repaired!
Lord, teach me to truly live in Your grace and peace, not just to know about, but to joyfully live in the exxperience of Your intimacy with me. And teach me to show Your grace and peace to others, because it ought to be a natural outflow. Now, Lord, help me to follow Your example of loving and seeking communion with God so that our relationship is right because only then will I be able to set my other relationships right and put everything else into right perspective around me. May I run to You continually in grace and peace.