Reach • Devotion 2

Grace & Peace
Ferdinand Sanders

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:3

When was the last time you wrote someone a handwritten letter? Outside of the occasional note to my wife (I promise it happened at least once in the past year), I really cannot remember the last time I penned a letter to anyone. Now, when was the last time you received a handwritten letter? Sometimes I wonder why I even have a mailbox. Every day when I get the mail, I am met with things I do not want - ads for places I do not go, credit card opportunities, bills, and junk mail. Receiving a personal, handwritten letter has to be one of the topmost pleasant things that we can experience. It always seems to warm my heart and put a smile on my face. There is great intentionality that is felt when something is personally handwritten. In a world where messages can be sent and received within seconds, it seems we have been drifting further and further away from that personal intentionality.

The New Testament is filled with handwritten letters. New pockets of Christians and churches were starting to pop up as the disciples began to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). These letters are full of encouragement, direction, guidance, comfort, and sometimes, necessary correction or challenges. As a church, we have been looking at the Apostle Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia. Paul opens his letter with a greeting in which he writes, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:3). Now, this was just the introduction. It is the pleasantries if you will. It was not the main point of his letter to the Galatians, and admittedly, is very easy to move past as we make our way to reading the “meat and potatoes” of his letter. If we move too quickly past verse 3 as the recipient of this letter, or even as the reader today, I would argue that not only do we miss out on grace and peace as the context or foundation of the letter, but I fear we may even be moving in the opposite direction as we rush to advance ourselves further.

I wonder, how many times do we do that with Scripture?

Believe me, I am the first person to skip ahead whenever a chapter begins to list out a genealogy. However, how much do we miss by approaching Scripture with the "lesson to be obtained" already in our minds? Maybe we sit down on a Sunday morning and completely miss God's voice because we begin to fill in the gaps with our own voice, rather than being attentive and hearing the Scripture passage in a fresh and new way. If we believe that Scripture is the living, breathing Word of God (John 1:14; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12), take time to be in His presence.

In the spirit of Galatians 1:3, I wanted to leave you with ten passages to sit, read, reflect, and ponder on the grace and peace which is offered to us from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

• “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love.” 2 John 1:3

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

• “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” Ephesians 2:14

• “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

• “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

• “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

• “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”
Ephesians 2:4-5

• “Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” 2 Timothy 1:9

• “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14

• “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24

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