Grace and Peace

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 9
The above is the well-known formula employed by the apostles in addressing the churches; and thank God, a reality both for them and the individuals who in truth compose the same. Grace is the most precious theme to a soul that has known its need, and drank into its inexhaustible supply; and “the God of all grace,” is the One such a heart delights to adore, although it is esteemed mad for doing so, even as we find Paul saying (2 Cor. 5:1313For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. (2 Corinthians 5:13)), “whether we be beside ourselves it is to God”: indicating that he clearly knew what it was to be ecstatic in the divine presence. And no wonder for the grace shown to him had been “exceeding abundant, with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 1:1414And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 1:14)).
As in Ezekiel's vision (chap. 46), the waters are first to the ankles, then to the knees, and to the loins; and then “waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.” It is blessed to know that grace gives such as us, who in ourselves could have no standing there, a perfect foothold in the presence of our God— “this grace wherein we stand” (Rom. 5:22By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2)): that our knees smite not one another as Belshazzar's did when he beheld the handwriting on the wall, but however feeble are confirmed, and our loins are strengthened for His service; for we know our Master not to be austere, but so gracious that, blunder as alas! we do, we may cast ourselves anew upon the impassable waters of His love, and know that they will bear us up, and thus find a positive joy in exercising ourselves therein. We know the effect it had upon the apostle Paul in relieving him from all self-reliance, as he learned the meaning of those words “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
But with such a subject as grace, one experiences a difficulty in being systematic; for it has neither beginning nor end. It belongs to Him who is the Alpha and the Omega, who gives freely, and we may well say, as we meditate upon it, in our Lord's own words in Psa. 40:55Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. (Psalm 40:5), “Many, O Jehovah my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward; they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” It is what we have all received, “and grace for grace"; it is what, along with truth, “came by Jesus Christ.” It is what we have, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” What we have received “abundance of,” even to “reigning in life” by our blessed Lord, in contradistinction to the condemnation that was towards us through Adam's offense; it is what much more abounds now and reigns where sin has abounded; it is what Paul so valued that he would not frustrate it by any righteousness that might seem to come by law, but which he knew could not, for then Christ had died in vain; it is that wherein to “the praise of the glory” of which He has taken us into favor in the Beloved; and “according to the riches” of which “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of trespasses.” It is that, too, by which we are saved, through faith; such faith also being God's gift, so “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding, or surpassing, riches of His grace in His kindness to us by Christ Jesus.” Truly we may say He “hath given us good hope through grace,” seeing that “being justified by His grace we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life”; and meanwhile for our comfort in the wilderness, Peter reminds us (1 Peter 5:1010But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (1 Peter 5:10)) “the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile shall (R.V.) make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” Well may we add, without exhausting the subject, “To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen”
Peace! Who can sufficiently estimate its blessing? But “what hast thou to do with peace”? said Jehu to the wicked Joram's messenger. And as a preface to his letter, and apparently as something remarkable, Artaxerxes writes, “Peace, and at such a time.” We had nothing to do with it once, for “the way of peace they have not known” (Rom. 3:1717And the way of peace have they not known: (Romans 3:17)), nor was it to be wondered at when we were in unbelief, for “there is no peace, smith my God, to the wicked.” But since God has sent the word “preaching peace by Jesus Christ, He is Lord of all” (Acts 10:3636The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) (Acts 10:36)); and Christ “came and preached peace to you which were afar off and to them that were nigh” (Eph. 2:1717And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. (Ephesians 2:17)); we, as belonging to the former Gentile class know “even at such time” when all is in confusion, uncertainty, and unrest, that we are entitled to it. Why? “For He made peace through the blood of His cross,” and left it with His own, saying before He went there, “Peace I leave with you", confirming it also on the morning of His resurrection, saying, “Peace be unto you; and when He had so said He showed unto them His hands and His side,” —that precious side from which “forthwith there came blood and water.”
The value of that blood God has answered to, for He is now “the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,” and so, believing the infinite mercy which delivered Him for our offenses and raised Him again for our justification, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” As regards our individual path, the way may seem dreary, but He has given us the peace He had who trod the pathway before us; “My peace I give unto you.” And as regards our collective attitude, there may be much to try, but let us not be cast down; these words remain blessedly true.
“The Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way” (2 Thess. 3:1616Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)); and “let the peace of Christ (R.V.) rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body, and be ye thankful” (Col. 3:1515And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. (Colossians 3:15)). May we therefore keep His word, for “He will speak peace unto His people and to His saints, but let them not turn again to folly,” even their own thoughts and ways!