The Basis of Fellowship and Service
John's special greeting is the basis on which he encourages a godly lady to be discerning in fellowship and wise in service. Grace, mercy and peace are God's gifts. They are given jointly by the Father and the Son to people who are trusting in Jesus Christ for their salvation. No amount of religious play-acting can manufacture these essential divine gifts: and through their transforming influence, God's children can be recognised.
Firstly, grace is an outpouring of God's love in salvation and provision. We cannot earn it or deserve it; grace is a free and unmerited gift. Grace satisfies our deepest needs, enabling us to keep serving despite weakness, and stay confident through Satan's work of discouragement (2 Corinthians 12:9). Secondly, mercy is Father God's open-handed kindness to people who are miserable and afflicted, particularly through sin; the mercy of Christ is at its greatest in forgiving guilty sinners (1 Timothy 1:15-16). These gifts are essential for us to live godly lives with eternal hope.
God's peace is a consequence of His grace and mercy, in which He declares that He is for us and not against us (Romans 8:31). That brings quietness to our conscience and removes anxiety from our minds (Philippians 4:7). His peace enables us to bathe in His love, and yet be sharpened to embrace His truth - and serve Him accordingly. More than that, the Father and the Son promise to be with us. John remembered what Jesus had said, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." (John 14:23).
The gifts of God are free but they need to be received. So we need to welcome the grace and mercy and peace that come from God the Father and the Son. Yet, believers can be too casual, somehow assuming that they just have to cope with their hard lives. No, God knows that you need His grace, His mercy, His peace, His love and His truth! He has already made these available to you in Christ. So consciously welcome what He has given: then you can be thankful and rejoice in what He has already implanted into your life, and so serve Him confidently.
© Dr Paul Adams