A Heartfelt Greeting

Galatians 1:3-5 King James Version (KJV)

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Words in verse three are used in every letter Paul wrote to the churches.  It was a familiar greeting for him, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he did not say this when he was preaching as well.  What a powerful way to start out a letter.

Grace be to you.  This was a common Greek greeting in those days and it signifies rejoicing.  Rejoicing in what God has done for us and what he has given us.  The word grace means favor – God doing for man what man does not deserve.  It is similar to a master who gives kindness to a servant, but in this case it is God being kind toward us.  It is a kindness that bestows upon us what we do not deserve.

What can you think of that God has given you that you do not deserve.  For me the list is long, because I feel I do not deserve anything He has provided, and that is everything I have.  I am a sinner, and I have broken His laws – on numerous occasions.  I have broken every one of the ten commandments at one time or another (if I take into account Jesus teaching that if we call a man a fool, we are worse than a murderer).  My mouth was a cesspool, my habits were filthy, my character was flawed and I had no room for God.

Yet He sent a childhood friend to slowly plant seeds and bring me to a place where I saw my need for a Savior.  Then, when I cried out to Jesus, despite all my flaws and all my guilt, He saved me. He lifted my burden.  He bestowed His grace upon me.  He loved me when I was unlovable, and He started to show me His ways.  They were so much better than my ways.

Now I look at all He gives on a daily basis by His grace, and I am in awe of how much He loves me.  I am in awe that He has forgotten those sins that so stained my life, and He pours out His grace to me daily.  The air I breath, the sunlight, the food on my table, the clothes on my back, friends, family, work – all by His grace.

This is God’s kindness to me.  He asks me to give the same courtesy to others.  How can I show grace to those around me?  Let’s start with the words that we speak:

Ephesians 4:29 King James Version (KJV)

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Colossians 4:6 King James Version (KJV)

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

One way we minister grace is by being careful what we say to those around us.  This means to speak with kindness and with careful consideration of the words we say.  To many, this seems to be a foreign concept.  Even in the church we see gossip running rampant, backbiting out of control and sharp tongues dividing congregations.  These things ought not to be.  These verses put a priority on speaking good of others and building them up at all times.  We have no authority to knock people down.  That is the devil’s work.  Do you really want to be a part of that?

How else can I show grace?  Romans 12:6-21 gives us an excellent list of ways we can show grace to those around us by what we do.  Among them are teaching, being patient, distributing to the necessities of the saints, being hospitable, not being wise in my own conceit, slothful in business, and much more.  I will not list them all but I encourage you to check and see which ones God has called you to do.

When we accept Christ as Savior, we cannot just go our own way and do whatever we please.  If He truly comes into our life, there should be a changed heart and a desire to do good works.  These works complete our salvation (Phil 2:12).  If we continue to act in an unrighteous manner, we have not truly repented of our sins, which is required for truly being saved.  Examine your life, ask God to search your heart and see if there be any wicked way in you (Psalm 139:23-24).  If you sincerely ask, without wavering, He will show you.  Then you can start to minister grace as He has gracefully given to you.

“And Peace from God the Father”.  This is the second part of that Greek greeting we talked about earlier.  The interesting thing is that the Greeks did not know the peace that God gives to us, so this carries a lot more weight in my mind.  The peace that God gives us is far more complete in our souls and minds.  It is a peace that this world does not understand or comprehend.

John 14:27 King James Version (KJV)

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The world is far from the peace of God.  Inner struggles and turmoil are always present in one form or fashion.  Maybe it’s a loved one who is sick, or financial problems, or marital problems, or business woes.  There always seems to be something wrong.  That is multiplied by the worrisome world we live in.  The news is full of stories that rob our peace and cause us to live in fear.

But God’s peace supersedes all of that.  We can have peace in the midst of the storms, no matter how big the storm is.  We even may think we are going to die in this storm of life, but Jesus comes in and calms the waves and the wind (Luke 8:22-25).  It is a matter of us drowning out all the chaos around us and stilling ourselves to listen to that still small voice that is always trying to speak to us (1 Kings 19:11-12).

It is also a matter of putting worry aside:

Philippians 4:6 King James Version (KJV)

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

It is also a matter of putting worry aside and taking the needs we have to God and leaving them in His watchful, caring hands.  He can handle them.  This prayer should be made with Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving for what?  For the mercy that He has on us and for the grace that He has blessed us with!  Everything we have going on should come to Him.  It is then that His peace will overwhelm us and carry us through any storm.  Jesus could have kept the storm away so the disciples would never have to go through it.  Storms build our faith (James 1:2-4).  We should always remember that!

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

Paul then presents the gospel to them in one brief verse.  This is what he taught them day and night when he was with them previously.  This is the message he was commissioned to deliver.  He was the Billy Graham of the time, always presenting Christ crucified and risen from the dead. (1 Cor 1:22, 2:2).

In my ministry, I have always been more of a teacher.  That is why this blog is called God’s Maintenance Man.  I am called to teach how the word of God can lift us to a higher place in Christ and a better understanding of His word.  He has called me to plant seeds of growth.  I also should always present the gospel within the messages I write and preach.

Others are seed sowers to the unsaved.  They preach the gospel and only the gospel.  These are the apostles of our day in my understanding, and they are growing fewer and fewer.  Often, we think everyone has heard the gospel message, but they have not.  We should all be more diligent in creating a short sentence like Paul does here to preswnt the gospel in its simplest form.

To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Lastly, Paul gives praise to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  What a wonderful opening statement.  We have Paul giving a blessing to the people, presenting the gospel and praising the Lord in three short sentences.  This type of a greeting certainly would be welcome to churches and Christians as an introduction to the rest of the discourse.

And worship is such an essential part.  Paul was familiar to worship and loved to worship the Lord.  So much so they when he was beaten and put in prison, he worshipped all night (Acts 16:26-31), or at least until the walls shook, the guard let them out and then asked them how to get saved!  He knew the power of praise!

Praise and worship should be an integral part of our daily lives.  It should intermix with all we do and all we say.  God should be glorified no matter what we are going through (Phil 3:6).  He should receive the glory for every mercy that comes our way – and they come at breakneck speed every day if we really look for them.

After such a beautiful greeting, Paul plunges right into a controversy in the churches that has arisen since his first visit.  You don’t want to miss that in our next lesson!

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2 thoughts on “A Heartfelt Greeting

  1. working4christtwo

    4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:’

    THANK YOU my Dear friend Pete: one of the essential Key’s to Heaven gate is to gain a right understanding of precisely what “according to the will of God and our Father.” Means. The degree of our individual success in doing this will factor hugely our Eternal destination.

    “What can you think of that God has given you that you do not deserve”
    Wow, what a GREAT question to ask and answer: for Me, EVERYTHING! God is in charge. Amen!

    27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid

    BIG SMILE HERE; you “stole” “my” thunder, on another project already in the works.

    But what an overwhelming thought and consideration this is. Our GOD actually desires US to find HIS Peace. This reality is one of the greatest evidences of God’s Love for Us.

    Thanks Pete, and continued Blessings,
    Patrick

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Pete Post author

      Thanks Patrick for your kind words. It is always amazing to me that we can take three short verses in a greeting, and once we look into them, see the depths of God’;s word. It is so rich and alive to us!

      I was especially touched by the part on peace as well. I treasure the peace that God has given me in the midst of the storms I have faced. he is always there

      I write differently from you I think. I sit down and put the piece together over a couple hours in a couple days. I sue scriptures that God gives to me at the moment, not studying out to deep. I use the words He speaks to me at that moment, and usually they stay true to the very end of the post. Some editing might occur upon proof reading, but very little.

      I feel that way I am less likely to put my own twist and personal wisdom in the piece. Now I do believe God has granted me wisdom in His ways, but I like to defer to His whenever possible. I feel if I took time to think about the verses for a long time, my mind would get in the way,.

      It seems to me you put a lot more study into your pieces, and that is a good thing. I love the logic you use and the conclusions that you derive from that. God is most definitely at work in th words you write. We just attack in a different way, or at least I think I do.

      I say all that because I love you brother, and I love your passion for the Catholic way, and your passion for the things of God. I loom forward to every post that you personally write. I rarely look at re-posts from anyone, to be honest.

      This long, drawn out response is meant to say how much I appreciate you. Keep up the good work!

      Be blessed

      Like

      Reply

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