THOUGHTS FROM EPHESIANS

3 GRACE AND PEACE

A meditation on Ephesians 1:2.

 

Paul addresses his readers with his normal greeting 'grace and peace' and identifies the source of this grace and peace.

In this letter Paul describes God's grace in exuberant terms; he is totally overwhelmed, and wants us to be totally overwhelmed, by God's grace. Paul, who once believed that he could merit acceptance and acquittal in the presence of God by his own religious résumé now knows that his acceptance with God and his acquittal by God are sheer gift – undeserved, unmerited, free.

Paul describes peace - peace with God and peace between man and man. Like grace, peace is sheer gift – the result of God removing interpersonal religious barriers through the death of Jesus Christ. Because everyone who believes in Christ is saved by grace alone all religious divisions are annulled: no longer does one man's religious rituals distinguish him from another; no longer does the possession of the Law separate the Jew from the Gentile; no longer can any man say 'I am better than you are, more accepted with God than you are, more righteous than you are'.

This is because the 'grace and peace' of which Paul speaks is 'from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ' Their source, supply and continuance are not in us. Our perceived religious merit is irrelevant.

This grace and peace is from 'God our Father'. He who knows Jesus Christ, the Son of God, knows that God is 'our Father'. He is the Sovereign Creator, yes. He is the just Judge, yes. He is the Holy One, yes. But he is also 'our Father'. We are his adopted children, whom he loves, and for whose salvation and acquittal he sent his only Son to pay the death penalty for our sins.

This grace and peace is also from 'the Lord Jesus Christ'. The 'Lord' – the Master of the universe, the Lord of lords, the King of kings, co-eternal with God the Father – the Lord, who took upon himself human flesh. He is not only 'the Lord' he is also 'Jesus' – who was conceived in Mary's womb, born a human child, lived a fully and truly human life, and died a human death. This almighty Lord, this human Jesus, is also the 'Christ' – the long expected Messiah through whom God implemented his eternal plan to bring the grace and peace of salvation to mankind.

In him, and because of him, grace and peace are assured.

 

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006, 2010