Tuesday, 29 November 2016
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:2
After identifying himself, his calling, who was accompanying him, and who the letter is directed to, Paul now gives the standard greeting which is found in most of his epistles. It begins with “Grace to you and peace to you.”
Grace is unmerited favor which cannot be earned. This is the common greeting among the Greek people. Peace however is the common greeting among the Hebrew people. In their language, the word is shalom. This is more than a greeting for calm or quiet, but is a state of wholeness and completion in all ways. Paul unites the two terms just as the church is being united between Jew and Gentile during his time. This grace precedes the peace because only after receiving the grace of God can a person experience the peace of God.
Paul extends this wonderful blessing to them “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is a greeting from the eternal God – both the unseen Father and His Son who reveals the Father to us. Rather than being an argument against the divinity of Jesus Christ, it is an argument for it. He is tying the two in as one – Jesus being a member of the Godhead. He is not making some type of great division, but a harmonious blending of the two.
Throughout Paul’s letters, as with the entire Bible, the deity of Jesus Christ is a concept and a precept which simply can’t be missed. It is the very heart of what God has done for the reconciliation of the people of the world.
Life application: Outside of God’s creation, which reveals Him in a general way, we cannot comprehend Him except through His special revelation. One way we receive special revelation is through the mouths of His prophets. But these prophets all testified to the same thing – Jesus Christ (John 5:39). The most magnificent special revelation of God that we have received is the incarnation of Jesus. But for us, even this isn’t sight. Instead, it is found in the testimony of those who have recorded what they knew into the New Testament. So, in order to understand God, one must know Jesus Christ, and one cannot understand Jesus Christ unless they know their Bible. Know your Bible!
Heavenly Father, how grateful we are that we can fellowship with You personally. We can read Your word and know who You are. We can have personal talks with you as we pray in a quiet place or on a bustling city street. You are with us as we rise in the morning, and when we retire at the end of the day. We can feel Your presence with us in church and fellowship with others, praising You and giving You thanks for Your wonderful care of us. It is a comfort to our soul to know that You are always there with us. Thank You for allowing us to fellowship with You, O God. Amen.