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May 16, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—and all the brothers and sisters with me, to the churches in Galatia: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”—Galatians 1:1–5 (NIV)
Have you ever met twins? It’s such a weird, fascinating thing to think about, isn’t it? Two babies who, somehow, are miraculously conceived at the same time, share a womb and, sometimes even look exactly alike. One of the things I find unique and interesting about twins is the unparalleled kinship they usually share. This uncanny bond between them and scientific evidence shows that twins enjoy lifelong benefits from having each other.
So, why am I talking to you about twins right now? Well, because in the New Testament we see a pair of twins, a set that’s always inseparable because they’re joined at the hip.
Their names? Grace and peace.
Check this out: 15 of the 27 books of the New Testament contain these words paired together in their introduction! They've been called the Siamese twins of the New Testament because they're so commonly coupled together, particularly by Paul. It's an ingenious combination of the common Greek and Hebrew greetings.
Grace (charis): This word was used like the Hawaiian word aloha, both in greetings and departures. The word means joy or favor; a leaning towards to share benefit. In the New Testament, it's used to describe the Lord's favor, which He freely extended to give Himself away to people because He is disposed to bless and be near them.
Peace (shalom): A term used to this day, shalom means peace, a state of harmony and restoration. I love the way Bible scholar John Henry Thayer put it: "The tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.” It speaks of holistic health, of all the pieces of one’s life being joined together in their rightful place. It’s the supernatural gift of wholeness that every believer can rest upon and wrap themselves in.
Now, I believe the reason Paul so frequently pairs grace and peace together is because these two powerful ideas go hand-in-hand; they’re inseparable. Like twins, grace and peace share an uncanny, absurd closeness. You truly can’t have one without the other.
And here’s the most profound thing I need you to see, think about, and reflect on as you examine your own life, heart, and attitude: Whenever we see these two together in Scripture, grace always comes before peace. The reason is because you can never know the peace of God until you have received the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
You can’t rest in His peace until you’ve been wrapped in His grace. You can’t have beautiful harmony until all the parts are in place. You can’t experience wholeness until the God-sized hole in your heart has been filled. Why? Because God's grace in us is the source of our peace. It brings us into harmony with our heavenly Father, it unites us with one another in one accord, one mission, one purpose, and one banner, and it makes us whole through the restoration of our souls by the saving work of Christ.
Grace allows us to have peace with God, others, and ourselves. That’s what Christmas is all about, folks! The Prince of Peace arrived on the scene to live the perfect life we never could, to bear the penalty for our sins, and conquer death. By doing so, He allowed us to experience the grace of God that brings us peace. And as we receive, grow in, and are changed by the grace of God, we can experience true peace . . . the peace that surpasses understanding, the peace that steadies us in the harshest conditions and the fieriest trials, and the peace that comes from the freedom from sin and death through Christ Jesus, according to the will of God and for the glory of God.
So today, as we inch closer to Christmas day, let us bask in this grace and let His peace wash over us.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.