The Apostle Paul used this phrase thirteen times: Grace and peace to you. Each one of Paul’s letters open with these words. Whether Paul was writing to the people of a church, to his “true son in the faith,” or even writing to discuss the difference between slavery and brotherhood, his blessing is grace and peace.
Why would this man of God greet everyone in this manner? What is so important about grace and peace that Paul feels the need to speak the words immediately? One article will not do–who could exhaust the possibilities of these two words? Neither will theological definitions do–the academy has been lulled into the trap of believing that if we can define a word we somehow possess the quality.
Grace and Peace
Perhaps we could start here: Paul greeted everyone with grace and peace because he understood our on-going need for both of them. He was writing to believers, yet he wished for them more grace and more peace.
How many of us have made the mistake of thinking God’s grace operates only at the new birth? Part of the good news is there is more grace, grace for today, and grace for tomorrow. Grace for more than forgiveness–God wants to provide grace in the everyday, grace for growth, and grace to sustain. Have I asked for grace beyond forgiveness?
God’s peace is also our constant need. The resurrected Jesus greeted his friends with the word “Peace.” Peace is the first message of the risen Lord. Paul, a Jewish rabbi, understood “peace” to represent the well-being that comes from God, the wholeness that flows from a relationship with the author of life. How many of us–even if we have walked with God for decades–need more of the Shalom of God?
Finally, grace and peace represent more than our need. They are the need of everyone we meet. Do we wish grace and peace on others? Do we have it to give?
So today, here is my blessing: grace to you, and peace.
This article on the phrase “grace and peace” originally appeared here, and is used by permission.