Grace and Peace

Andrew Booth
September 17, 2017

Grace and Peace

Ephesians 1: 1 “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…

Paul knew he was called by the will of God, and he knew it was for a purpose

Galatians 1: 15-16 “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles…

He knew that purpose was to tell the Gentiles about Jesus.

Paul is addressing the saints (Ephesians 1: 1) ” …the faithful in Christ Jesus

Paul knew, as Peter says in Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

Ephesians 1: 2 “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. ” This second verse is the overture to the rest of this letter:

Grace is the beginning of our faith, like a river leading to the end of our faith, which is Peace.

Grace

Why is Grace so central to the teaching of Paul?

No-one is disqualified from the Grace of God

1 Corinthians 15: 9-11 “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect… “

So if Grace is a gift, do we need to do anything further?

“…No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.  Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

So Grace is a dynamic partnership between God and us.

Are we able to gain Grace by what we do?  Paul had as good reasons as anyone to think so:

Philippians 3: 4-6 “though I myself have reasons for such confidence.  If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

but no-one is good enough on their own to gain Grace, as Paul says:

Philippians 3: 7-10 “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith…

Grace is what he has received, not what he has achieved.

Grace was prophesied in the Old Testament:

Ezekiel 36: 32-34 “ …I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws…

Jeremiah 31: 32-34 “It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt declares the LordThis is the covenant that I will make with the people of Israel after that time,’ declares the Lord.
‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.’…

and declared by John:

John 1: 14-17 “…Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

A gift needs a giver, but it also requires a recipient.  Have you received God’s gift of Grace for you?

Grace is a Principle, a Person and a Practice.

Grace equips us:

1 Corinthians 3: 10 “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.

Grace enables us and exhorts us to give:

2 Corinthians 8: 1-7 “And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.   In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.  For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own…

Grace continues to work with us:

1 Corinthians 15: 10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

Grace sustains us in difficult times:

2 Corinthians 12: 9 “But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’

It teaches us to say ‘No’:

Titus 2: 11-14 “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.  It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…

The result of Grace is that we have Peace with God:

Romans 5: 1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Grace and Peace should be the air we breathe.

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