“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:2, NIV84)
One cannot find two better words to put in a greeting than “grace” and “peace.” In this crazy world we live in, are there any higher or nobler states to aspire to? Every human being on the planet longs to be loved for who they are. We desperately want to know whether we are loved for who we really are rather than who we make ourselves out to be. We work very hard at creating an image of ourselves that will be acceptable to most. But what if there were someone who loved us just the way we are? Paul is telling us that God loves us just the way we are. His love for us is unilateral and unconditional. God loves you, first because of who He is (Love), and second, because of who you are (His beloved creature). There is nothing you can do today to cause God to love you any more than He does right now; and there is nothing you can do today to cause Him to love you any less. Grace is undeserved love, and God has plenty of it for you.
Who in the world couldn’t use or isn’t praying for peace in his or her life? Our lives seem to be everything but peaceful. There is so much stress, fear, guilt, pain. Where is there any room for peace? Nonetheless, Paul blesses the Philippians and us with peace. It is the kind of peace you find when you come to know Jesus. Jesus says in the gospel of John, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace.” Jesus came to bear all the burdens of this world so that we might find peace in Him. Why have stress and fear if God is in control? Why have guilt if Jesus bore it all when He died on the cross? Why wallow in pain if it can’t compare to the glory we will share with Christ in eternity?
For you and me, grace and peace should not be wishful ideals. Rather, they should be hopeful certainties that we can live in every day of our lives.