Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Grace and peace are two of those words that get thrown around a lot, but few people really get what they mean. Instead of going through a long explanation, I’ll try and briefly define each.
Grace – This is God leaning out and towards us. Not because of anything we’ve done or could do. God freely does it because of who he is and his love for us.
Peace – This is less about war and more about everyone and everything being whole, complete, the way it was made to be.
Grace and peace come from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ together. They come as a package deal. You can’t have grace without peace, and you can’t have peace without grace. We can never be at peace (whole) again without God reaching out to us.
Grace and Peace
God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ also come together. Yes, they are individuals, but they are equal parts of the trinity. They also work together to bring grace and peace. They cooperated and are cooperating to bring grace and peace to us.
And how do we get this grace and peace? What do we have to do to earn it? What great accomplishment do we have to do? How many spiritual brownie points do we have to collect in order to get his attention? How long of a race do we have to run? In what time?
The beautiful answer is that they aren’t earned at all. They don’t come by following some law, but by God’s grace. Not by going on a pilgrimage to get God’s attention, but through grace. Not by following checklists, but by grace. Not through chanting, meditating, or looing inside ourselves, but by grace.
And how did God show his grace? What’s the biggest demonstration of who he is and his gracious love for us? What shouts God’s grace more than anything else? What gets our attention more than anything that we could possibly do or say?
He gave himself for our sins. Our sins. Not someone else’s sins. Not the sins of those sinners over there. No. Our sins. The sins we did. The sins that we we’re responsible for. The sins that had separated us from God. The sins that crushed God’s heart.
He did all the giving. He did all the paying. He did it all. When he gave himself for our sins, nothing wasn’t left to be paid. We didn’t go “Dutch Treat” with God where we each pay for our own meal. It isn’t that he paid the bill and left us to pay the tip. No, he paid it all.
And how did he pay for our sins? He did it himself. He gave himself. Imagine that; the creator God of the universe came down, became a man, and gave himself for our sins. He didn’t send someone else. Anyone else. He didn’t send an angel, a prophet, a spirit. He gave himself.