Select Page

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most


Just Scratching the Surface: Grace and Peace

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:2

There is so much here in these fourteen words of verse two that it is hard to know where to begin.  Paul, as was his custom, often presents these two fundamental truths of the Christian faith, “grace and peace,” at the end of his greeting to those recipients of his letters (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:3; Phil. 1:2; 2 Thes. 1:2, Phlm. 1:3).  It is almost like he wants to remind them of the gift of salvation and eternal life they have received by faith, based on God’s grace towards them, which brings a peace the world cannot understand nor experience (Phil. 4:7).

And sometimes Paul would add “mercy” to “grace and peace,” creating a holy trinity of blessings we have received from Christ (1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2, Titus 1:4), yet he seems to reserve “mercy” for his letters to individuals rather than churches.  We’ll dig into the reasons for that at a later date.


What is Grace?

Grace is a word that Paul uses to both begin (1:2) and end the book of Ephesians (6:24), and it occurs another ten times within these six chapters.  Ephesians speaks of the grace of God’s unmerited favor in providing salvation through the sacrifice of His Son (1:7; 2:8) and His power granted to each of us to lead a life of sanctification, a holy life (4:7, 29).  It also speaks of the fact that by grace, and grace alone, we are saved (2:5, 8) and that it is a gift of God to be shared with others (3:7).

But what exactly does the word mean?  And how are we to understand this blessing of grace given to us by the mercy of God.  Grace (cháris) means to “rejoice, and is God’s great kindness freely given towards those who are undeserving of His favor.”  But more specifically:

This word may, at times, indicate kindness, as a quality or attribute of God or of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It may also describe the state of salvation, and thirdly, the believer’s gratitude for the salvation received or for any gift of God.  But in the present instance it refers undoubtedly to God’s spontaneous, unmerited favor in action, His freely bestowed lovingkindness in operation, bestowing salvation upon guilt-laden sinners.  Grace is the fountain from which everything in Christ flows.¹

Just think, God the Father is called the “God of all grace” (1 Pet. 5:10), and Jesus is the Author, Giver, and Dispenser of grace (Acts 15:11; 2 Cor. 8:9; Rom. 16:20; 1 Thes. 5:28).  Not to be left out, the Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of grace” (Heb. 10:29), and the very throne of God is referred to as His “throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16).  As you can see, grace seems to permeate everything in the realm of God— and rightly so.


But What About Peace?

The peace this passage talks about is not just the absence of conflict, like peace between two warring factions, but it is a peace that is the result of God granting us His grace.  When we speak of “grace and peace,” we are looking at two bookends of the entire Christian experience.  What begins with God’s grace freely bestowed upon us undeservingly, ends with our peace— peace with God (Eph. 2:14, 17), peace with others (2:15; 4:3), and peace with ourselves.  It really doesn’t get much better than that.

And this peace knows no bounds.  We cannot imagine what it is like until we experience it ourselves because it is unlike any peace the world can offer (Phil. 4:7). Jesus said so Himself:

“Peace I leave with you, (described as) My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” – John 14:27.

“Grace and peace” are pivotal, key terms in Ephesians that are not simply chosen randomly.  For example, in Ephesians 6:15, the good news is called “the gospel of peace,” and in 2:14, it states that Jesus Christ, “He, Himself is our peace.”  So if we want a concise summary of the good news that the letter to the church of Ephesus proclaims, we could not find a better one than these three small words, “peace through grace.”


It Gets Even Better

Finally, this verse reveals the source of our grace and the peace that follows.  And it comes from none other than “God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  These two, mentioned in this fashion back-to-back, once again remind us that Jesus is God, co-equal with the Father, and has granted you and me direct, unhindered access to God Himself.  The veil of separation has been torn, top to bottom, by the sacrifice of Jesus, who provided for us the forgiveness of sins and His imputed righteousness, thus allowing us access to the Holy of Holies where God dwells (Heb. 4:14-16).  This is what it means to experience grace.  And this is what it means to have peace.

Paul used these twin terms in his greetings to the churches to show them their blessed position in Christ and to reinforce to them that only through God’s grace and His ensuing peace can we live the sanctified, holy, God-pleasing, abundant life Jesus promised (John 10:10)—the Higher Christian Life we so desire.  And if God has provided us with His peace through His undeserved grace, then why should we ever worry about anything?


So Let’s Pray

Before you pray, consider deeply the meaning of these two words and the great blessings you have received from Him through them.  You have been given grace, even though you don’t deserve it and never will.  And you can experience peace, even though you were once an enemy of God (Rom. 5:10), of yourself, and others.  Both of these, grace and peace, are gifts freely given by the One who will allow nothing to come between you and His love (Rom. 8:38-39).  And I mean nothing.

So when you pray, be sure to thank Him for what you have and not moan over what you think you lack.  This is also how faith grows.

Dear Father,
I come before You with a heart filled with gratitude for the gifts of grace and peace that You have so freely bestowed upon me.  Your Word reveals the depths of these blessings— that grace is Your unmerited favor and kindness towards me, a sinner undeserving of Your love.  Yet in Your infinite mercy, You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the author and giver of grace, purchasing my salvation through His sacrifice on the cross.  And I know that it is by grace alone, through faith, that I am saved.

Thank You that Your grace not only redeems me, but empowers me to live a life pleasing to You.  By Your Spirit of grace dwelling within me, I can walk in holiness and offer words of grace to build others up.  Lord, help me to do that daily.  And I can’t thank You enough that Your throne of grace is always open to me, inviting me to boldly approach You to receive mercy and find grace in my time of need.

Father, I also praise You for the perfect peace You give to those who trust in You.  This peace surpasses all understanding— it calms my troubled heart and drives out fear, for You Yourself are my peace.  Through Christ, I now have peace with You, peace with others, and peace within myself.  No matter what storms rage around me, I can rest secure in Your unfailing love and unshakable peace.

I pray that I would never take these precious gifts for granted or fail to extend grace and peace to others.  May I be quick to forgive as I have been forgiven, to love as I am loved by You, and to share the good news of grace with all who cross my path.  Let my life overflow with thanksgiving for all You have done and reflect the glorious realities of who I am in Christ.

Thank You that nothing can ever separate me from Your love and the blessings of grace and peace that are mine in Jesus.

It is in His mighty name I pray, Amen.


Notes

1. Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Ephesians (Vol. 7, p. 71). Baker Book House.

Leaving Laodicea | The Survival Manual for the Coming Underground Church

Subscribe Where You Listen the Most