“Grace to you and peace…”

You know what saving grace is: God’s saving and powerful favor. It is completely undeserved, it is wholly unearned by us, it is freely bestowed, and it is expensively purchased. This favor which Paul pronounces on all those who are trusting in Jesus Christ, this favor is completely undeserved. There is nothing in us which calls God to bestow it. It’s completely unearned by us. There is nothing that we could do to earn this kind of lavish favor. It was freely given to us, freely bestowed on us. God in His mercy simply extended it to us in Jesus Christ. But it was expensively purchased at the cost of the blood of the Son of His love! And Paul is saying, ‘I pronounce God’s favor lavished on you in Jesus Christ. You haven’t deserved it, you couldn’t earn it, but He’s freely given it at the cost of His own Son. Grace to you.’

Now, my friend, every Christian…because we know ourselves, every Christian delights in that grace. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!” Every Christian delights in that reality, but it’s a twin reality here. It’s not simply ‘grace to you’ here. Notice, it’s ‘grace to you and peace.’

That old Hebrew word shalom (which means so much more than peace often conveys in our language), means all the blessings that flow from God’s grace. Paul is going to spend the rest of Ephesians 1 cataloging for us blessings that we have received, that we have inherited, because of God’s grace shown to us in Jesus Christ. In other words, he’s going to be cataloging for us the content of this blessing of the peace of God.

The peace of God in the Scriptures refers not simply to a cessation of warfare and hostility in this world, as we often have in mind as we think of the words Peace on earth, good will towards men out of the old King James Version. It has to do first and foremost, of course, with peace with God. We’re no longer under His just condemnation, but we are under His fatherly acceptance in Jesus Christ. We have peace with Him. Our consciences have been salved because our sin has been dealt with, and the penalty of sin has been dealt with. So we have peace with God.

But peace in the Scriptures means even more than this. It means that we experience the fullness of wholeness and satisfaction no matter the circumstances of life in this world. For the Christian, these things are exceedingly precious.

And notice that Paul makes a point to say that these are “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Contrary to popular opinion, there is but one way to experience this peace. There is but One in whom we experience this peace. There is one way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ, His Son, our Lord. As Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.” There is one way to experience the grace and peace of God, and that is in Jesus Christ.

Well, I want to ask you this, friend: Do you prize God’s grace and peace above everything else? Have you sought the fullness of life and satisfaction through the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Lord Jesus Christ?

-Ligon Duncan

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