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Essential Gifts from God the Father, and God the Son

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

Today's verse may seem like a familiar greeting. And it was; but there was something different about it. The difference is that this is not just nice sentiments, or even the profound Jewish 'Shalom' greeting – originally meaning 'may everything good from God come to you'. Paul is writing to Christian brothers and sisters who have come into God's family by faith in Jesus Christ. They have already received saving grace, and peace with God; Paul reassures them that God has pledged to continue to give them daily grace and peace along with all that they need (Romans 8:22).

'Grace' is a little word with a big original meaning, for it encompasses all the loving goodness from God's heart that flows to us as a result of Jesus' sacrifice. Central to grace is forgiveness through Christ's blood (Ephesians 1:7) - it is undeserved and unattainable by ourselves, so it can only come to us as a free gift. We cannot earn it or pay for it in any way: indeed, to try to do so is as insulting to God as paying for a present given by a loved one. It is natural to our fallen human nature to do something to earn God's favour, but that would only increase our pride and independence from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). The gift of peace is not just an emotionally warm feeling: it is a declaration that war is over between our souls and God, as we repentantly welcome Christ into our lives (Romans 5:1). Those who receive His peace are liberated from their past, knowing that God does not have anything against them (Romans 8:31).

Remarkably, Paul asserts that both God the Father and God the Son have agreed together to continue to give grace and peace to believers. God does not just preside over human affairs or remotely monitor the activities of the church. The Father and Son are personally involved in sending something of themselves directly to God's children. Although Paul is an apostle, he does not adopt a priestly function in dispensing grace and peace on behalf of God. God needs no other mediator than Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). The apostle was sent to announce the grace and peace of God by teaching the truth about God and the gospel. As an apostle, Paul was authorised to explain that these essentials of Christian faith and life, come straight from the Father and the Son to the believer. The challenge is to desire what God wants to give and actively to receive His gifts with thankfulness.

One of Satan's tactics is to convince Christians that they are not properly forgiven, and that God has got something against them. Those lies trap their victims into spiritual paralysis. That is why we need the Apostle to tell us that if we have become children of God through faith in Jesus (John 1:12), we can be certain that the Father and the Son have agreed to give us full freedom from the burden of sin - and to welcome us into full fellowship with them! Perhaps you need to appreciate that truth afresh; then maybe share it with a despondent Christian who thinks that they are worthless. Also, your non-Christian friend needs to know that there really is a way to live again. When anybody welcomes God's call to belong to Him, He will personally give His grace and peace: and that supply will never run dry.

Prayer 
Dear Lord God. Thank You that You have promised to continue to supply grace to me, and to assure me of Your peace, as I trust in Jesus. Forgive me for the times when I have tried to be religious in my own strength, hoping to please You; or for the times when I have abandoned my faith in despair over my own unworthiness. Help me to receive Your grace and peace afresh today; and to share the truths I have learned, especially with those who have run out of answers in life. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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