Philippians 1:2 "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ..."
Grace to you and peace - again easy to pass by and ignore but so significant. The first should be the focus of our Christian life and the second should be the result. Graceland is not the home of Elvis but rather the ground at the foot of the cross. Despite the problems Elvis had he never lost total connection with the foundation of faith in Christ that his mother gave him. That is the whole reason why he called his home Graceland and why he never allowed anyone to call him the king despite that media driven nickname.
Humanity and it seems especially religionists struggle mightily with the idea of anything that is unmerited. I often marvel at Matthew 21 where Jesus declares sadly that "many will come to Him in that day and say 'We did miracles and cast out demons in Your name' and I will say 'Depart from Me for I never knew you.'" Here is dead giveaway. They come with a resume. Had they known Jesus, had there been a relationship, they would never have attempted to buy with works what was paid in full with blood.
Trying to purchase the favour of God is not only theologically incorrect and heretical, it is an insult to God and to Jesus. It is a backhanded way of saying "I don't believe what You did was enough so I added to it". It is the persuasive lie that Colossians was all about: Jesus + __________ = salvation.
Paul knew better. Paul knew and declared boldly at the beginning of his letters to the churches - Grace! With grace peace because once you have grace you have peace. The wall of separation created by sin is obliterated by grace and only peace remains.
The cross declared the heart of God. Nothing can be taken away from what Jesus accomplished and nothing must be added.
The grace is from God. The peace is from God. Jesus has restored all that was destroyed in Eden. It is Good News from first to last. If a Christian killer who encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus can dispense encouragement from a Roman prison do we have reason to do anything but smile?
Set your heart and mind on things above where Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. Grace to you and peace both today and each day. smile emoticon