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La Novia Del Cordero Spanish Service meets Sundays at 3pm and livestreams via Facebook Live.

 

Grace and Peace

Grace and Peace

Words of Faith 8-21-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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2 Corinthians 1

   Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

   To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia:

   [2] Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

      The first few verses of a book are always easy to skip, but in doing so we can miss some important things. The greeting is here for a reason. The salutation sets the tone and frames a communication such as this.

       Paul was poised in Macedonia, about to travel to Corinth for a third visit. This letter sought to prepare for that visit. We would not think much of the greeting and salutation except that the issue of Paul's apostleship will be a central topic in this letter. Paul did not skirt the issue. From the very first words-- paulos apostolos-- it was clear that Paul was not backing down from his defense that he was an apostle of Christ Jesus unlike the false apostles who opposed him in Corinth.

       Paul's claim was not based in some ego-driven campaign or any ecclesiastical pronouncement. Paul was sent by Christ Jesus from the point of his calling-- "The Lord said to Ananias, 'Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel'" (Acts 9:15). This was not a station of Paul's own choosing. Apostleship was pressed on him by God.

       Timothy was with Paul at this writing. One of Paul's much-loved associates in the ministry, Timothy joined Paul him near the beginning of the second journey (Acts 16:1-3) and proved to be an invaluable colleague. Timothy also had experience ministering at Corinth. His association with Paul in the greeting was more than a formality. Though Timothy was a protégé of Paul, the apostle also considered him a brother and a spiritual son.

       While there was room for concern about the immediate destiny of the church of God in Corinth, Paul was confident God was in still in charge. He was confident that those who composed the church belonged to God. This was true not only of the Corinthians, of course, but also of all Christians living in the region surrounding the capital of Achaia. They too were saints, set apart by God for service to Him, but they were not immune to the controversy in Corinth or its consequences.

       About two years after this, Paul would express a similar confidence in his letter to the Roman believers-- "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (8:38-39). Even when there are tremendous difficulties, God is in charge.

       So Paul began with an expression of blessing—“grace and peace to the believers in Corinth.” Grace refers to the love of God in action with peace as its result. Both aspects were displayed in Jesus' ministry-- "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (14:27). Grace and peace.

       For us, perhaps we can receive these same truths even centuries later. God is still in charge, even if we are in a troubled place or time. His church is still His church, even if facing difficulty or controversy. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. We can receive the blessing of grace-- God's action for us and in us. We can receive God's peace, which is the result of His action.

 

       Father, I give thanks to You for this day. Keep me aimed in the right direction. I receive the blessing of Your grace and peace. In Jesus' Name.