grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. [2 corinthians 1:3]
the world today doesn’t feel graceful, or peaceful. i am not graceful or peaceful in myself. in corinth, there was a temple, a popular temple where many indulged in utilizing the ‘priestess’ of the goddess aphrodite for sexual immorality. then there were the games, that much like the olympics, brought many to corinth from far away. the streets of corinth urged visitors to partake in the indulgent lifestyle. the first-century Christians were facing a world of alluring sin at every turn, not too unlike our own world. and paul begins his letter with the best greeting he has, ‘grace and peace to you from Yhwh the LORD’ (holly’s interpretation). paul knows the only true hope he can give the corinthians is in Christ.
not only does paul say this greeting to the corinthians, but within the first chapter of all thirteen of paul’s epistles is the phrase, “grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” from this, we can assume this was not only his way of writing but his way of living, this was how he greeted his brothers and sisters in Christ.
first grace: the gift given to us by God without any good reason, but because of his great love. grace that God gives, acts, and works in us. God’s grace so underserved by us, yet so abundantly given to us.
peace is the response and result of those who see and know God’s grace. because of God’s grace believers, we can have true peace, the war is over and won, death overcome, and our savior reigns.
finally in true pauline fashion, these two greetings were used with great intention. first, the greek word for grace is charis. now this word worked much like our common phrase of hello. to say this word to a greek was common if not expected. likewise, the hebrew word shalom was often used in greeting one another to offer a kind hello. (if you’re interested in history like this go here to read more about these phrases: https://www.preceptaustin.org/romans_15-10). through using both, paul has once again called the body made up of many different cultures to greet each other as one.
in our indulgent world remind yourself, remind each other of the beautiful gift of God’s grace and the peace that comes from our root in that grace.
~ holly russell