Monday, 31 January 2016
Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, Galatians 1:3
Paul here makes his usual apostolic greeting which is found, for example, in Romans 1:7. “Grace” is the blessing poured out from God on those who are undeserving of His favor. Grace is “getting what you don’t deserve.” Instead of judgment and wrath, we are lavished with His goodness and abundance. This is the standard Greek greeting one might expect at the time of Paul.
“Peace” is a fullness of everything that is needed to be satisfied in all ways. It is a request for health, filling of every need, and even abundance. It would be the standard greeting of the Jews that one would expect at this or at any time. The Hebrew word which Paul would have on his mind would be shalom. In Greek, it is eiréné.
The term “from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ” means that these blessings come from both. God is the Source of all things; Christ is our Mediator. If one thinks of a stream of water, it doesn’t matter if the water comes right from the well which bubbles from the ground or from some point down the river. In both, the same water is drunk. If the well is by itself inaccessible, the stream is there bringing it to us. This is how it is for us spiritually. Christ is the One who makes the abundance and blessings of God possible for us to enjoy.
It is of note that despite the upbraiding that Paul is going to give to the Galatians because of their straying from the truth, he still takes the time to pronounce this blessing upon them. It is certain that his pronouncement is actually intended as a way of preparing the way for them to receive and accept the truth of his coming words.
Life application: Even if we have to hand out discipline, we can still pronounce a blessing as well. Paul’s example is one we should take to heart in such delicate and difficult times.
Heavenly Father, help us to step back from the pronouncement of angry words and bitter thoughts. Instead, help us to be kind and gentle in how we use our tongues. May they be instruments of edification and encouragement. And yet, help us not to withhold correction as well when it is needed. Give us the ability to properly balance our words so that we never encourage wrongdoing, while at the same time, we never speak harmfully to those we correct. Amen.