Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Galatians 1:3-5, ESV
The churches in Galatia in the first century were not under attack by a virus or suffering under governmental procedures put in place to control that virus. Their suffering was of a different kind. They were relatively new believers under attack by preachers who taught that a person had to obey old covenant law before entering the new covenant by faith in Christ. Paul condemns this false gospel as no gospel at all.
Though we are facing a different challenge than the Galatian churches faced, what we need is what they needed. It is expressed in the introduction to this letter. They needed grace and peace “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Grace is unmerited kindness from the Almighty God. Peace is when all things are restored to the way they should be. Can any of us say that we need anything more than that today? As I read news articles and Facebook posts, it seems to me that we desperately need God’s grace and peace.
Paul does not stop with kind wishes for the churches in Galatia, he also describes how we might obtain this grace and peace in two descriptive phrases. Grace and peace are ours because . . .
Jesus gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age. Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice to bring us forgiveness of and freedom from sin. The grace in this should be evident. Jesus died for sinners who deserved eternal death, not rescue. Peace is found in the restoration of our relationship with God as our sins are forgiven and in freedom from slavery to sin. Jesus delivers us from eternal judgment and the power of sin in this “present evil age.”
God our Father willed it to be so. Nobody twisted God’s arm to bring us this grace and freedom. It was an act of divine resolve. This defines grace—God acted for our good without any outside force compelling Him to do so. This makes for perfect peace—if we never were worth saving then our ultimate salvation does not depend on fickle us, but on God, our solid Rock.
Christian, you need not wait for God’s grace and peace to come! It is yours for the taking. The Father has willed it and the Son has purchased it. Just enjoy it! Your current external circumstances may not change, but you have been delivered from this present evil age by the kindness of God and the sacrifice of Jesus!
The final sentence of this verse tells us how we should express our experience of grace and peace. We should glorify God forever and ever. I wonder . . . could it be that we are not “feeling” God’s grace and peace because we too rarely express our possession of it by glorifying God in worship, faith, and obedience?
My prayer for you today? Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.