Thursday, January 1, 2015

"Grace and Peace" Part 2

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…

"Grace and Peace"

Part 2

    "Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:7).

    Note that the Apostle Paul's salutation originated not in himself, but rather in God the Father and His Son (along with the Holy Spirit by implication, since He inspired the words of Paul's epistles). The Apostle served as the Lord's voice of grace and peace to the believers of the churches to whom Paul wrote.  Moreover, the expression of God's loving intentions reaches our hearts as the Holy Spirit makes contemporary the salutation of blessedness to Christians of every generation - "My words shall not pass away" (Mark 13:31).

    Our Heavenly Father purposes that we join Paul in serving as the communication of our Lord's nature and attitude of kindness.  "The Lord is good to all, and His tendermercies are over all His works… As we have opportunity, let us therefore do good to all men" (Psalm 145:9; Galatians 6:10).  Our words, our demeanor, our attitude, and our actions must serve as the expression of "grace to you and peace."  This includes our involvement not only with friends, but also with enemies.

   "I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:44-45; 48).

   The perfection, or completion, of our experience of God's love requires our determination to bless foes as well as friends.  The Lord Jesus died for the sins of a race that, left to ourselves, would include all of us as His adversaries.  "When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son" (Romans 5:10).  Thankfully, God's heart of "grace to you and peace" beat in the soul of the Lord Jesus, and even more, bled through His wounds in order to reconcile us to Himself.  Thus, He calls us to the same determination and sacrifice for those who oppose us as His Spirit works in us so that we may "walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6).

    Grace and peace freely received by us through the Lord Jesus becomes grace and peace extended through us for the glory of the Lord Jesus.  His presence in us makes such good will possible, His Word calls us to apply ourselves accordingly, and the Holy Spirit empowers us to to love only as God and His spiritual offspring can.  We serve as the Lord's voice to friend and foe no less than did our brother Paul as the kindness we receive becomes the kindness we bestow...

"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."
(II Corinthians 5:20)
"Walk in love, even as Christ also hath loved us and given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor."
(Ephesians 5:2)

Weekly Memory Verse
    What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.
(Psalm 56:3)

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