Grace and Peace
Read: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3
Paul begins this epistle in the same way in which he would later open others. He links grace with peace. Man cannot experience peace until he receives God’s grace. True peace is built on an understanding that our salvation rests on what God has done rather than on what we must do.
Whenever the spirit breaks into our lives, grace and peace turn the timid, evasive and helpless into fearless witnesses. Our secure, sanitized, risk-free environments are blown apart. The saving life of Jesus sets us free from both the worst of us and the best of us. Grace is His free use of flawed people to accomplish His work on the earth.
Because of grace our inadequacies are no longer an issue. Because of grace and peace we no longer have to repeat the mistakes of the past. There is a power available to us which will endow us with courage, to risk everything on the truth of the gospel. We are freed from our fears, we cannot lose because we have nothing to lose.
The church at Thessalonica was powered by the grace and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result of their transforming relationship with the resurrected Jesus, the church was a powerful witness.
What lives beyond the cross is the liberating power of the love of Jesus. A fully functioning church always reflects Christ Jesus on the earth.
Paul saw distinguishing marks in the church of Thessalonica; we should look for these things in ourselves as well – a demonstration of faith. When a church says "we believe in Jesus Christ and marvel at what He did on the cross" this is the singular work of faith, a labor of love. Whenever a Christian begins to comprehend how much the Lord has done for them, they can't help but to love others. We no longer live out of obligation, but love. A love that says "because God has been so good to me I can't help but to carry someone else to Jesus." We patiently wait for the return of the Lord. We wait not with passivity, but actively, always viewing this life in light of eternity. We always are to keep looking at the big picture. Only Heaven puts everything in perspective.
Have you been changed by the grace and peace of Jesus?