Grace and Peace?
In your intention to get on with reading or studying God’s word, have you ever skipped on past those words at the beginning of the epistles (letters) in the Bible that read something like, “Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”?
You will see that from the outset of the letter, no matter how the church was behaving, God said words to that effect. He was saying, “In Me are all the resources that you will need: My wisdom, strength, love, joy,… and I want to remind you that I am at peace with you and I want you to experience that peace.” It’s the Gospel in a Nutshell.
You see, the full weight of God’s anger toward the sin in their lives had been poured out on Jesus, justice had been served, God’s rightful anger satisfied, and through confessing their sin they had been forgiven and restored to God’s love.
God Greets You Every Day with the Gospel
Stop and ponder the next time you are reading these words at the beginning of a letter in the Bible and realize that these are God’s words to you. In fact, when you wake in the morning, know that God is personally saying, “Grace and peace to you!” (“Good morning!”)
Peace and Goodwill to All
God really does have peace and goodwill for all men! And, you, no matter who you are or how you feel, are one of them! Have you turned to Jesus and received forgiveness for your sin? A life of grace and peace awaits you.
Mankind in the Eyes of God
The Bible is clear about how we as mankind stand before God. Romans 3:23 says,“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” and Romans 3:11-12 says, “There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God… there is none that does good, no, not one.” Because of our sinful nature it is impossible for us to live up to God’s standards and be righteous in and of ourselves.
Despite our sinful condition, God, in His love, made a way to make us righteous so that we could forever be in His presence. He sent Jesus to take our sin upon Himself, and the penalty for our sin, death. In this way God could satisfy His holy anger toward sin and at the same time He could justify us and declare us righteous. But most of all He could satisfy His love for us.
So, through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice, we can be made righteous. And, righteousness is a free gift that is given, once and for all, to those who believe in Jesus Christ.
Below are some verses from the Bible that tell us this:
“For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight …But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law… the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation(satisfying God’s anger) by his blood, to be received by faith…For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Rom. 3:20-28).
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God …” (1Peter 3:18).
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Empowered to Succeed
At the point that we are made right with God, our nature is also changed and His Spirit comes to live inside of us enabling us to love Jesus and keep His commandments.
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
Apart from this grace we could never love Him properly nor keep His commandments.
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will never fulfill the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh wants is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to the flesh. They are opposed to each other, and so you do not do what you want to do. But if you are being led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, rivalry, jealously, outbursts of anger, quarrels, conflicts, factions, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild partying, and things like that. I am telling you now, as I have told you in the past, that people who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit” (Gal 5:16-25).
God is Approachable
Hebrews 12:1 speaks of “the sin that so easily entangles us”. Essentially, we sin when we fail to walk in the power of the Spirit. Yet, despite sinning, we are forever called the righteousness of God! This, however, doesn’t mean that we are licensed to freely sin. Nor does it mean that sin doesn’t have consequences. What it does mean is that we can forever freely enter God’s presence where we can enjoy His love and friendship and be enabled to satisfy a new inner desire to love God and those around us.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).