1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul starts every one of his letters in the same way. First come the introductions, and then he greets his readers by wishing them something. I guess it must be important because what he desires for them is the same in every letter. I can’t imagine the Apostle Paul just wanting to be polite.
He starts out by wishing them grace. This is such a key concept in the Bible that I want to pause here a little. The Greek word that Paul uses, charis, has several meanings: (a) something that gives pleasure or delight, (b) goodwill; a friendly attitude that produces kind acts, (c) a favor that is freely given (d) gratitude on the part of the recipient of such kind acts.
Paul’s second wish for the Ephesians is peace. In the original Greek this word refers to a state of tranquility, harmony, security, and prosperity.
Who wouldn’t want all these things? Imagine how different the world would be if it had more grace and peace! The problem is that people are looking for them in the wrong places. Paul makes it clear that their source is God alone.
Jesus embodies grace. He shows us how God freely gives us His goodwill, favor, and love. As a result we are filled with joy and thanksgiving. Grace leads to peace, an internal quietness of heart and sense of security, as well as an external harmony with others and overall well-being.
No wonder Paul is always desiring these things for his readers! Goodwill, favor, joy, thanksgiving, well-being, peace – these are the recipe for a life that has found its purpose.
As we continue through Paul’s letter we will discover how to have grace and peace in abundance. Will you join me on this journey?