Grace and Peace

Ephesians 6:1-2.  “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:  Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Several noteable things always appear in Paul’s greetings to the recipients of his letters.  The custom of the day was to identify oneself at the very beginning of the letter, adding whatever information the writer felt important.

So the first thing Paul states is his apostleship by the will of God. Why is this important?

The original twelve were all men who actually walked with Jesus during His ministry on earth, so one requirement of apostleship was that one must have actually physically seen the Lord.

Paul did. His experience is different from the rest of the apostles, and you can read about it in Acts 26, and especially verse 16.  He was chosen by God to be the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Next, Paul clarifies that he is writing to believers. The saints were those who had accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, and had already heard the gospel of salvation. He was not addressing a different group when he said and to the faithful in Christ Jesus. The saints and the faithful were one and the same. All Paul is doing here is recognizing the faithfulness of the believers at Ephesus.

saint is not a sinless person.  A saint is a separated person, separated to God in Christ Jesus.  If you are a born again believer, then you are a saint.  Your faihtfulness is another matter, and is influenced by the degree to which you are dedicated to living holy in Christ Jesus.

We do not become saints by saintliness, but we should be characterized by saintliness because we are saints.

Now, in verse 2, we have the apostolic salutation.  In a letter we might write today, we might say, “Dear  Susan,” or some other such standard greeting.  Paul offers them grace and peace from God, Who is their Father; and from the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is His Son. This is not saving grace.  They already had that.  Rather, it is the grace to meet each day, and the grace of knowing our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

So often in this Godless culture we hear the plaintive notes of the wonderful song Amazing Grace, how Sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!  I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.” And every time I hear it used at the funeral of some celebrity, politician, or otherwise famous person, I wonder.  Did the deceased have any true idea of what it is to be saved by grace?  To live in grace?  To have dying grace, and to look forward to eternal grace?

It is a sad and solemn thing to me that we have used this beautiful song with so little thought.

Similarly, to have peace with God is to know one’s sins are forgiven, and that eternity in heaven is secure. It is to be in right relationship with Him, and to look forward to the day when we see Him face to face. It is peace in the good times and the hard times, an inner peace that passes all understanding.

Isn’t it amazing, all that Paul has to say in two short verses? That’s because it was the Holy Spirit leading his thoughts and his pen.

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