I simply love this usual greeting of Paul’s. Similar wording is found in I Corinthians 1:3; II Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; I Thessalonians 1:1; II Thessalonians 1:2; and Philemon 1:3. My affinity for this greeting is due to the absolute hope the words convey.
God, through the apostle Paul, states that two great things are given to the Galatian believers: grace and peace. Once we know the meaning of these two words, we gain a great appreciation for God’s love to us.
The word “grace” means “favor”. The best way I can illustrate God’s favor is to point towards the cross of Christ. Upon the cross, Jesus, God’s Son, gives His life for sinful people. By His amazing act, God Himself pays for penalty for the sin of the world. Because of Jesus, no human being must suffer the condemnation for rebellion against God.
Jesus paid this price willingly because He loved the world. He was under no obligation to suffer for us but He chose to die for us. The King of all creation sacrificed Himself for us. That was great favor!
“Peace” refers to a cessation of war and enmity. A common Hebrew greeting, “peace” also means safety and prosperity. A great gift given to the one who relies upon Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sin is peace. Without Christ, man is at war with the Savior. With Christ, the war is over. Man is reconciled to God. What lies ahead is friendship with God, safety from death, and prosperity from the eternal riches of Christ.
True grace and peace come from only one source. That source is God. But God is manifest in three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit. Paul writes of two of these three persons in verse three: the Father and the Son.
- Pastor Randy