A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Friday, February 01, 2008

Grace and Peace to the Faithful Saints

Paul's greetings to the church at Ephesus is typical: "to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."

The first two words describe the people of God: saints and faithful. They are saints because they are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all and have received the gift of the Holy Ghost which is given to them who belong to Christ. They are believers because the Holy Spirit works faith in them and hope which is the adjunct of faith. By hope they trust in the promises of God, which they esteem more precious than any thing in the world.

The last two words describe the most precious gifts that God gives to his faithful saints: grace and peace. Grace means that they live in a state of blessedness by the free gift of God; their sins are forgiven them, they are adopted children of God and inherit freely all the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are showered upon them, described in Galatians 5.

By peace is meant the assurance of all the blessings of God by the free gift of God through Jesus Christ, so that the soul rests, ceasing from its agitation about the favor of God, for this is assured to Him by grace. "Being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." God would have his people live with a settled peace in their souls. The peace of God is to keep our hearts and minds.

So peace also means confidence that God will supply all our needs, so that we need not be agitated over what we shall eat, what we shall drink, or wherewithal we shall be clothed, as Jesus said. Our heavenly father knows what we need before we ask and will supply all our needs, according to our riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Peace means that we are not so attached to the things of the world that our souls become disquieted because of them; we learn in what ever state we are to be content.

Because the soul is at peace with God and because it does not fret over earthly things, the faithful saint is able to live at peace in the church with the people of God. He trusts in His father and does not fear what men can do to him nor does he presume to control the behavior of others, the two major causes of strife in the world. He faithfully does the work that God has given him to do and does not meddle in the affairs of others. Pr 20:3 "It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling." The fool meddles because wisdom is not in his heart and mind.

Grace and peace go together, just as holiness and faith go together. Holiness and faith are characteristics of the likeness of Christ, and grace and peace are the precious gifts of God.
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