Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Grace and Peace

Chuckle: "A panhandler walked up to a well-dressed woman who was shopping on Main street and said, 'Lady, I haven't eaten anything in four long days.' She looked at him and said, 'I wish I had your will power.'"
Quote: "On my head pour only the sweet waters of serenity. Give me the gift of the Untroubled Mind." --Joshua Loth Liebman
    "Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi . . . Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ"  (Philippians 1:1-2 NIV).
Philippians is a letter from the apostle Paul to his dear Christian friends at Philippi. He called himself and companion, Timothy, "servants of Jesus Christ." The term "servants" denotes dependence, obedience, intense devotion, and acknowledged ownership. In this letter, Paul reminded the Philippian Christians that the church is the living body of Christ and that they were partakers of his grace and peace. They were saints in the world but not of the world (see John 17:14-16). Their lives were hidden in Christ. Paul had a closer bond with the Philippian Christians than with any other church. He shared his circumstances as a Roman prisoner under house arrest, and the inner peace and joy which he enjoyed.
First, Paul sets forth a soul union between Christ and the believer. Perhaps the "in Christ" phrase was from Jesus when He talked about his being the vine and his followers as the branches in John 15. Union with Christ is accomplished by God's grace through faith - the channel through which God enters a person's inner being. Alfred Ackley's hymn conveys his personal testimony of the indwelling Christ in his life:
"He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know he lives: He lives within my heart."
Second, Paul used the idea of the new life in Christ to refer to the believer's life fulfilled in the church. See 2 Cor. 5:17. Christ brought new life into the world by sharing his life with all people, and he brought new life to the world by starting a new community, the church.
All of us desire to experience genuine peace. Paul's salutation here is an exclamation, a declaration, a wish, and a prayer. "Grace and peace" are listed in their divine order and can never be reversed. There is no true peace without first experiencing God's grace. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith" (Ephesians 2:8 NIV). Peace follows the acceptance of God's grace through Jesus Christ. Someone has said, “Grace is the spring -- peace is the stream flowing from the spring.”
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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