“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:1
These are the very first of Paul’s divinely inspired words, and in this first of his inspired greetings, he set a pattern which he would later follow in all his other epistles. He would always begin with an implicit prayer that both grace and peace, sent from God the Father and His Son, the Lord Christ Jesus, would be received and experienced by the ones to whom he was writing. Furthermore, “grace” always precedes “peace” in Paul’s salutations.
My first Christian Church in Dagupan was named Grace & Peace Fellowship with then missionary Dennis Alan Miller as pastor. One must receive the grace of God before he can experience the peace of God. “For it is by grace, we have been saved” (Ephesians 2:8).
By this strong emphasis on grace, preceding anything else in his writings to church, Paul confirmed the great importance of God’s loving grace. Grace is the first essential in salvation and is the continuing vital essential in Christian living. The Thessalonians had already been saved by grace through faith, but now the grace of God their Father and Christ Jesus their Lord must also be lived out in their personal behavior, especially in their dealings with others, to whom God would also manifest His grace through them.
Three times Paul pleaded to the Lord in prayers to take away his thorn in the flesh:”But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9a).
Paul also closed every epistle with a prayer that the grace of the Lord Jesus would continue to be with all who read. Finally, the last of his inspired words (written while Paul was in prison) to his young disciple Timothy were: “The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:22).
We should, therefore, must begin, continue, and end in the sustaining grace of the Savior. Indeed, the very last revealed words of God Himself in the Holy Scriptures are: “The grace of our Lord Christ Jesus be with you all. Amen” (Revelation 22:21).
Inspired by: Institute for Creation Research