Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. – Ephesians 1:1-10
Paul’s words in the salutation of his letter to the church [in Ephesus] proclaim a truth he will explain, and a reality impossible fully to comprehend. He says that God has given us every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus, and that after wishing them “grace and peace” that comes from God the Father through Jesus Christ. We considered grace yesterday – really only touching the surface of this profoundly important and significant gift.
Today we consider peace. Isaiah speaks of peace that comes from the Suffering Servant’s death (Isaiah 53:5). Jesus’ first greeting to his disciples as they met behind closed doors was, “Peace be with you.” John records this – and even indicates that Jesus repeated this greeting twice that first Easter evening.
We might think of peace as an absence of conflict, or a serene condition of the heart. While that’s a start there is much more to this gift. Safety, rest, prosperity, wholeness, welfare, completion, fullness, soundness, and well-being are the facets of this beautiful gift. Any one of these would be enough for most of us. But any one is merely one of many facets of this gift. For we have all of them when we have God’s peace.
It is not God’s desire that we struggle in anxiety, distress or the tumult of sin, guilt, brokenness, and fear. But Jesus has removed all these things and replaced them with his peace.
All this comes to us because of God’s nature and character. He is not only the One who gives the gift, but the source of the treasure itself. It was God’s decision to bring us to himself. It was God’s decision to grant us his peace. It was God’s decision to be the source of every spiritual blessing. It was God’s decision to be our peace (Ephesians 2:14).
God holds nothing back from us. He showers us with his grace and favor. He grants us his peace. He forgives our sins. He lavishes his blessings on us because of his glorious grace. And all this to the glory of Christ according to the riches of his grace.