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Themes in Philippians (Lesson 4)
Grace and Peace | Philippians 1:2
One of most significant themes in Paul’s letter to the Philippians is encapsulated in a simple yet profound statement found in Philippians 1:2.
"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
This greeting, which Paul uses in many of his letters, sets the tone for the entire epistle and provides a foundation for understanding the Christian life.
The phrase "grace and peace" is not just a generic salutation but a profound truth that anchors the Gospel message.
Grace refers to God's unmerited favor towards sinners, as demonstrated in the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is by his grace that we are saved through faith, not by our own efforts. As Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9,
Peace, on the other hand, refers to the sense of deep inner rest that comes from being reconciled to God through Christ. True peace is more than just the absence of conflict but a present contentment that transcends circumstances.
God's grace has no limit, and his peace surpasses all understanding.
Thus, when Paul invokes "grace and peace" upon the Philippian believers, he is reminding them that these two gospel blessings are not in short supply for the believer.
The apostle Paul knew firsthand the transformative power of God's grace and the resulting peace it brought. He had experienced a radical transformation from being a persecutor of Christians to becoming one of the greatest proponents of the Gospel.
Paul's life was a testament to the reality that salvation is not earned through good works or religious rituals, but rather it is a free gift given to all who believe and trust in Jesus Christ.
It’s not hard to see the inextricable connection between these two important themes.
Grace serves as the foundation for peace and peace is the fruit of grace.
Of course, it should go without saying but may need to be remembered often, that the source of grace and peace is God. As Paul says, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
As we abide by faith in Jesus, the Spirit confirms the grace of the Father through the Son and enables us to experience the supernatural peace of God.
This means, if I’m lacking peace, I may be looking in the wrong place. Remember, peace comes from our union with Jesus.
So, when you feel stress, the weight of worry, and burden of fear and anxiety, don’t merely try to cope. Go to Jesus to confess and cast those burdens upon him, placing them all in his nail scarred hands.
How does the concept of grace differ from the idea of earning salvation through good works?
Have you experienced God's peace in your life? If so, can you share about that experience?
How does God being source of grace and peace impact our understanding and experience of it?
What does it mean that “God's grace has no limit, and his peace surpasses all understanding?”
When we lack peace, what next steps are available to us?
Dear Father in heaven,
We thank you for showing us unmerited favor and that our salvation in Jesus is a gift.
We pray that you’d help us to grasp the depth of your grace, to embrace it fully, and to extend it to those around us.
Father, we also ask that you would give us a deep sense of peace that only comes from you. We live in a world that is full of turmoil, stress, and hardship. We often feel afraid. But you have promised peace to those abide in Jesus.
So, help us to rest in your sovereign care, goodness, and wisdom and to be faithful to trust you in the midst of trials–even as Jesus trusted you the night before his crucifixion.
For we pray in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.