Friday, January 17, 2014

Peace. Grace.

Have you ever paid attention to the way Paul starts his letters to the different churches?  It's all about God's love and grace and peace.

"To [you then] all God's beloved ones in Rome, called to be saints and designated for a consecrated life:  Grace and spiritual blessing and peace be yours from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 1:7 AMP)

"To the church of God which is in Corinth, to those consecrated and purified and made holy in Christ Jesus, [who are] selected and called to be saints (God's people), together with all those who in any place call upon and give honor to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:  Grace (favor and spiritual blessing) be to you and [heart] peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 1:2-3 AMP)

"Grace and spiritual blessing be to you and [soul] peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)." (Galatians 1:3 AMP)

"May grace (God's unmerited favor) and spiritual peace [which means peace with God and harmony, unity, and undisturbedness] be yours from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 1:2 AMP)

Those are just a few.  There's still 2 Corinthians, Colossians, Philippians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, etc.  As I was flipping through deciding where to begin today this thought really stuck out to me.  Paul's letters aren't always praising the actions of the groups he writes to.  In all reality, the majority of the time he is having to correct their ways.  BUT each and every time he is completely genuine and sincere with the intent of showing God's love and grace.  He isn't giving them rules to follow.  He isn't trying to maintain power and control over them. He is inspiring them and enlightening them to a fuller life.  A life with heart peace and soul peace.

{Side Note}Another reason I love the Amplified translation:  it doesn't generalize literal translations.  There are several different kinds of "peace".  The peace spoken in the Bible isn't that everything in your life is going smoothly.  It's the inner peace of soul and heart.

What if, what if, each of us began our ramblings or corrections how Paul began his.  What I imagine is words of love overflowing from our hearts, God's grace shining like a beacon from our lips, and inward peace as a breeze through the air.  If we begin our responses first by seeing each person as a child of God, as our brother or sister, will our encouragement and correction take a different form than if we are just thinking of some far off person we see only sin covering?

Going further, what if you started treating yourself and talking to yourself as Paul does his flock?

May the peace, love, and grace of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ fill your heart and soul.

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