Grace and Peace

DISCOVER THE KEY SEEDS CALLED GRACE & PEACE

THE SIAMESE TWINS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

LEARN ABOUT GRACE AND PEACE THAT COME FROM RIGHTEOUS LIVING

About Grace and Peace

The twins of faith: Grace and Peace, always are shown in this order. The reason is that grace in your life produces peace in your life.

Grace of God. Grace pertains to our eternal salvation.

Grace is the complete unmerited forgiveness of sins each and every one of us believers receives from our God for purely through our faith in Jesus.

Our faith is the “receiver,” if you will, of God’s complete forgiveness of his children…and not through any merit or work on our part, but based completely…100%…on the work of Jesus on the cross.

Martin Luther put it quite distinctly when he said, “Scripture teaches that we are justified before God through faith in Christ.”

While “grace to you and peace” recall the normal Greek and Hebrew greetings.

Paul basically coined a slight variation to connote the deepened Christian truth of grace. Charis (“grace”) goes beyond the typical chairein (“greetings”; see Acts 15:23; 23:26; James 1:1).

By doing this he placed the focus on the unmerited blessings given to believers in Christ.

Through God’s marvelous grace sinners are delivered from their sins and brought into a saving relationship with a holy God by the work of God on their behalf completely free of charge.

This grace does not cease with salvation from sin’s penalty, but continues on as the foundation of the believer’s life with God throughout all eternity.

These blessings of grace Paul and his associates wish for their readers.

Grace always brings benefits and one of these benefits is reflected in the word “peace” which the Apostle always associates with God’s grace. In fact, the order is significant.

First grace and then peace. Until we know and appropriate grace, we can’t experience peace. “Peace” was a typical Jewish greeting (cf. Judges 19:20), but for the Christian, it carries a much deeper meaning than it did among the ancient Hebrews.

So exactly what was it that Paul was wishing for his readers? The following study is a brief overview of the grace and peace offered to believers in Christ.


THE SIGNIFICANCE OF GRACE & PEACE

THE SIAMESE TWINS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT


DISCOVER THE SIGNIFICANCE OF GRACE

The Significance and Meaning of Grace

For many believers, the concept of grace goes little beyond the basic definition of “unmerited favor” or “the free gift of God.”

But since grace is at the very heart, indeed, it is the very foundation and fountain of true Christianity, we should have a better grasp of this important word and its truth.

The ramifications of God’s grace to us in Christ vitally affect our lives on every hand.

Throughout the New Testament the effects of God’s grace are emphasized.

Everywhere we turn, we run into this word (104 references—NIV).

In fact, the Lord Himself is described as the very epitome and manifestation of God’s grace.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,

Furthermore, the doctrine of God’s Grace in Christ is multi-sided.

As a doctrine of the Word it touches every area of truth or doctrine in one way or another.

Every aspect of doctrine is related to grace. It is no wonder grace is an important word and one that Paul desires to be experienced by all.

It is a fountain from which we must all drink deeply, but it is one that runs counter to our own natural tendencies.

Rather than drink from God’s fountain, we tend to build our own broken cisterns.

Jeremiah 2:13 For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns, That can hold no water.


DEFINITION OF GRACE

THE UNMERITED FAVOR OF GOD


LEARN ABOUT THE MEANING OF GRACE

Definition of Grace

The Greek word for grace is caris. Its basic idea is simply “non-meritorious or unearned favor, an unearned gift, a favor or blessings bestowed as a gift, freely and never as a merit for work performed.”

Grace is “that which God does for mankind through His Son, which mankind cannot earn, does not deserve, and will never merit”1

Grace is all that God freely and non-meritoriously does for man and is free to do for man on the basis of Christ’s person and work on the cross.

Grace, one might say, is the work of God for man and encompasses everything we receive from God.

Ephesians 1:3, 6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,… 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

John 6:27-29 “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.” 28 They said therefore to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

We should remember that the coming of Christ is described as the manifestation of God’s grace.

“Grace is summed up in the name, person, and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.”2

John 1:14, 16 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. …16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,


THE CHARACTERISTICS OF PEACE

THE PRESENCE OF GOD'S AMAZING GRACE


WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF GRACE?

The Characteristics of Grace

(1) Grace stresses God’s character and man’s sinfulness while mercy stresses God’s strength and man’s helplessness.

Grace finds its necessity in (a) the fact of God’s holiness and in the sinfulness of man, and (b) in the nature of God as the Creator and man as the creature.

(2) Grace is opposed to and excludes any idea of works for merit, works done as a means of blessing or as payment for what is done.

Grace means you never deserve it nor can you earn it even by the old fashion method of working for it. Paul’s statement in Romans 4:1-2 is noteworthy:

Romans 4:1-5 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.

Romans 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

A great man like Abraham may be able to boast about his works to people who may be impressed with his achievements, but there is never any place or room for boasting before God. Not even for a man like Abraham.

The moment we add works to gain favor with God, we go from grace to meritorious living. This is obvious in Romans 4:4-5 (see above).

But what about Ephesians 4:1 which reads, “I … entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called?” Does that not suggest works that are worthy? Rather than works that merit God’s favor, the idea is we are to walk in a manner that is consistent or fitting with our calling, not in a manner that merits God’s love.

(3) But at the same time, grace is the fountain from which good works are to be produced in the Christian’s life if appropriated by faith in God’s grace.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,

2 Timothy 2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15:9-11 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

In other words, grace gives power and motivation for Christ-like living.

Titus 2:11 teaches us that God’s grace in Christ is the dynamic means of instruction and motivation for the Christian life.

It literally teaches us how we should live and motivates us to do so.

Romans 12:1 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.

(4) Though grace is the New Testament way of life, it still contains rules and imperatives that God expects us to live by, but not as a means of merit, but because of God’s grace. It is not antinomian or anti-law.

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.

Romans 8:1-5There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Titus 2:12-14 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Romans 12:1-2 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

As Titus 2:12-14 and Romans 12:1-2 (above) teach us, God’s grace in Christ demands the denial of the wrong things in life (by the strength of God’s grace) and direction and obedience toward the right things. It becomes quite evident from this that grace never means the right to unbridled living or doing as one pleases because we stand in the grace of God.

Romans 5:20–6:1 And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. …1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?

Ryrie puts it this way, “The final cause of the revelation of the grace of God in Christ is not creed, but character”3

(5) Grace glorifies God because it reveals God’s person, His glory and excellence. God’s gracious salvation and work for man in Christ is to the “praise of the glory of His grace.”

Romans 4:1-5 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,

Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.

2 Peter 1:2-4 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

(6) Grace guarantees the believer’s salvation. It makes it impossible for any man to get out of the plan of God from the standpoint of his position in Christ. Why? Because salvation depends on the character and work of God in Christ and not on man’s record or works.

Romans 8:33-39 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, “For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Believers will be judged or examined for their works for rewards, but not as a basis of salvation.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.

Unbelievers will be judged on the basis of their works at the Great White Throne Judgment, but they are only at this judgment because they have rejected grace work for them in Christ. Their works become the proof of their unrighteousness and evidently also, the basis of the degree of their punishment (cf. Matt. 11:21 which implies degrees of punishment).

(7) Grace guarantees us of God’s love and provision for anything we might face in life.

Romans 8:32-39 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, “For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


THE BLESSINGS OF GRACE

THE SIAMESE TWINS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT


LEARN ABOUT THE BLESSINGS OF GRACE

The Blessings of Grace

There are four main areas or blessings that God’s grace provision encompasses. Though sinful and deserving of God’s wrath, grace means:

(1) The Blessings of Acceptance

Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

1 Corinthians 1:29-30 that no man should boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

Grace means we are completely accepted because of the perfect work of Christ which: redeems us (Rom. 3:24), reconciles us (2 Cor. 5:19-21), forgives us (Rom. 3:25; Eph. 1:6,7), delivers us (Col. 1:13), justifies us (Rom. 3:24; 5:1), and glorifies us (Rom. 8:30).

(2) The Blessing of Enablement (spiritual power and capacity)

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

Though weak and without capacity for spiritual things, grace means special divine ability is secured for the believer through the grace of God which is ours in Christ. This is stressed by the following:

No longer under Law, but under grace (Rom. 6:14; 2 Cor. 3:6-13).
Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).
Baptized and circumcised in Christ unto new life potential (Rom. 6:4f; Col. 2:11).
Indwelt by the Spirit of God for power or ability to live the Christian life (Rom. 8:2f)

(3) The Blessings of a New Position

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

Ephesians 2:1-5 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved,

Colossians 2:10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

Though in Adam and dead in sin before salvation, grace means the believer in Christ has a new position in Christ which brings every spiritual blessing into the believer’s life.

This means the gift of such things as:
Every believer a priest—members of a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5,9).
Citizens of heaven and thereby left here on earth as ambassadors for Christ (Phil. 3:20; 2 Cor. 5:20).
Children of God, members of God’s family (Eph. 5:1).
Adopted as adult sons with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities (Gal. 4:5).
Gifted for ministry (1 Pet. 4:10; 1 Cor. 12:4-7).

(4) The Blessings of an Eternal Inheritance

1 Peter 1:4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

Finally, though previously cut off from God and bound for hell, grace means the blessings of an eternal inheritance, one which is untouched by death, “imperishable,” unstained by evil, “undefiled,” and unimpaired by time, “will not fade away.”


LEARN WHY GRACE NEEDS TO GROW


The Needs in Relation to Grace—Grace Orientation and Multiplication
2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:2-9).

Man’s natural tendency is to think in terms of works and merit. A salvation by grace through faith is simply too easy. It’s often called “easy believism.”

This is obvious when one considers the many religions of the world, which all stress man doing good deeds of some sort as a means of gaining acceptance with God.

This is illustrated in John 6 by the response of the Jews to Jesus’ words in John 6:27.

When told they should not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall (please note) give to you…,” they replied, “What shall we do that we may work the works (plural) of God” (vs. 28).

They completely missed the point because they were thinking in terms of human works to gain the spiritual food God had to offer. Jesus’ response is enlightening and orients us to grace.

He said, “This is the work (singular) of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

Salvation is the work of God, accomplished in His Son, which man receives as a gift through faith or believing in God’s Son.

Grace orientation and its multiplication comes through knowledge of the Word and through faith.

First Peter 1:2 literally reads, “May grace and peace be multiplied or increased.”

Later, in 2 Peter 3:18 Peter will exhort believers to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior.

Not only do we need to be oriented to grace, but we need to grow in our understanding of the multiple facets of grace in all of life.


THE HAZARDS OF GRACE

THE BIBLE WARNS AGAINST FALSE GRACE


LEARN ABOUT THE HAZARDS OF FALSE GRACE


The Hazards in Relation to Grace—Grace Disorientation
Again, because of our works mentality, we tend to fail of the grace of God (Heb. 12:15).

Consequently, we turn to our own solutions, strategies, and methods for life which range all the way from humanism and legalism—we ignore God’s divine operating assets or grace and depend on self to the opposite, which is license—using God’s grace as an occasion for the flesh.

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;

Galatians 5:1-5, 13 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. …13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

There are several biblical pictures that warn of the danger:
Leaning on the arm of the flesh which leaves one in desert like conditions (Jer. 17:5)
Hewing out cisterns, broken cisterns that hold no water (Jer. 2:13)
Warring according to the flesh or using human weapons against spiritual forces (2 Cor. 10:3)
Leaning on the staff of a sharp reed that pierces the hand (Isa. 36:6)
Walking by our own man made fire brands to light our path (Isa. 50:10-11)

NEXT: The Seven-fold Effects of the Blood of Jesus!