The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Grace To You and Peace"
The Apostle Paul begins each of his epistles with the salutation, "Grace to you and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:7).
From the Father and the Son, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul served as the voice of good will and blessing from God to His trusting children in Christ. Wherever we may be along the path of righteousness, and whatever our spiritual condition, we may be sure that our Lord's will for us is indeed good, and that He desires our blessedness. Consider that even the carnal Corinthian church received this salutation, despite their waywardness and need for much correction (I Corinthians 1:3; 3:3). Our relationship and standing in Christ secures God's fixed determination of grace and peace toward us, whether in the commendation He affirms for faithfulness, or the correction He lovingly applies when we stray. Our Father is "for us," even when He must be against that is us which does not conform to the spiritual and moral image of Christ (Romans 8:31).
The Lord Jesus secured such abiding good will for us. No grace and no peace awaited Him on the cross, but rather wrath and turmoil of spirit, soul, and body. The innocent Lamb of God "bore our sins," and was even "made… to be sin for us" so that we may forever bear His righteousness, and "be made the righteousness of God in Him" (I Peter 2:24; II Corinthians 5:21). On our best days of faith and faithfulness, Christ alone serves as our basis of God's bestowed grace and peace. On our worst days, He abides as the same seal that forever secures our acceptance and favor with God. The "beloved Son" endured the raging fires of God's judgment against sin, making possible our entrance into our Father's favor, and our remaining there in Christ. "My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me?… I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Matthew 27:46; Hebrews 13:5).
Such truth constitutes a wonder at which to marvel, and a reality to be greatly feared. God receives us as spiritually enrobed with Christ. According to His own nature and word, He cannot reject or forsake us. However, He will not be mocked. Our Father's holiness to us and our holiness to Him means that He must act in decisive discipline if we wander from the path of righteousness. Again, consider the Corinthian believers, some of whom suffered the chastening of no less than physical death because of their deviation from God and His truth (I Corinthians 11:30). Our Father must act in accordance with the glory of His Son, and the sanctity of His truth. He must preserve His perfect integrity. He will do so because He loves the Lord Jesus and us too much to overlook waywardness, even as we remain the recipients of His grace and peace in Christ. "Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Hebrews 12:6).
Certainly, both Old Testament and New call us to rejoice in God and His loving devotion, be it to both Israel and the church. Just as certainly, however, such grace and peace bestowed on His earthly and Heavenly peoples also calls us to fear our Lord, that is, to fear His love. He will always do what is best for us, be it by the most gentle or the most firm of nail-pierced hands. A Christ-secured grace and peace assures such devotion to our eternal well being, and our Father's determination to maintain our favor and relationship of peace with Him forevermore. Paul's oft-repeated salutation tells us this, and so much more as both rejoicing and reverence properly receive the blessing of "grace to you and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ."
"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord."
(II Peter 1:2)
Weekly Memory Verse
If God be for us, who can be against us?