Grace and Peace
Feb 20, 2018 1397
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:3, NIV).
Notice what the apostle Paul says: “Grace to you and peace.” Twenty times these two ideas are joined in Scripture, and never in the reverse order.
Many people want peace but no grace. They want happiness but not holiness. But this is the only order for true peace. It must be preceded by grace. Grace is God’s undeserved active love to the unlovely, God’s infinite mercy to the merciless, God’s outpouring of goodness to those who could never deserve it. So grace always precedes peace.
And we are lost until grace finds us. We are naked until grace clothes us. We are undone until grace saves us. We are miserable until grace comforts us.
So grace is just a name for God’s active undeserved love, poured out like an infinite ocean. We bring our little cup of faith and it is filled to overflowing, and then we find that the cup springs up into a fountain of life giving us everything that we need.
Grace and peace – always in that order. Before conversion we long for grace but we can’t think it would bring us peace; maybe forgiveness, but no peace. But it always brings peace.
If God has taken away our guilt, if God can forgive us, we must learn to forgive ourselves. Some of us are so self-righteous that we find that a difficult task but if God can forgive our sins we must forgive ourselves.
Grace and peace: peace with God, peace with our own hearts and peace with other people. You can get on with other people if you accept them. You can get on with other people if you love them. You can get on with other people if you have made the resolution you will leave them free, never try to force them.
There was once a great king who had beautiful gardens, and who would go away from his kingdom certain months of the year. And he said to his gardener, “Let all the people come in who want to come in.”
One day when the king came back to the garden, the gardener complained that the people were picking the flowers. “Oh,” said the king, “My subjects love flowers? Plant more.”
Now, that is grace. God is always giving us more: more beauty, more love, and more truth. God gives us grace and peace, but always in that order.
– Des Ford
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