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Read Introduction to Philippians

 

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

The first two verses of Philippians are the vestibule of the epistle. This is the most sensitive of all of Paul’s epistles. There is no chiding or rebuke of the believers at Philippi. The epistle is soaked with words of joy and peace even though it was written while Paul was in jail (1:7,13,14,16). There is no trace of despondency or gloom.

“grace to you and peace”

Verse two is the greeting. There are two words of encouragement: “grace” and “peace.” “Grace” is the western salutation and “peace” the eastern.

“grace”

No single word in the English will decode the meaning of grace. Grace is what God does for us without any strings attached. It is God’s free favor without any merit from man.

Grace is that dynamic of God whereby He gives on the basis of who He is rather than who we are or what we do. His grace is like radium that ceaselessly discharges its ardent rays with no sign of subsiding of its primary energy. Human gifting can wane, grow cold, or become sporadic. However, grace goes on and on. Grace is the energy of God’s love that ministers to the wretched. 

“peace”

This word means to bind together. God binds Himself to us so that we can sense His care. Fret and anxiety pull us away from Him. Peace binds us to Him. 

Peace is not the absence of action; it is the absence of discord. It is not symbolized by death but by a smoothly running engine. It is the health of a life in harmony with God, a life where God has entered in.

Where grace abides, peace dwells. Grace is the element in which our energy works with dynamic service. Grace always precedes peace in salutations.

“from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“From” is the preposition of ultimate source. What is the source of grace and peace in our lives? The Father and Son are fused together as the source of grace and peace. 

The name of the Lord Jesus is mentioned 41 times in this epistle. That is an average of about every two or three verses.

PRINCIPLE

God relates to us on the basis of who and what He is, not on the basis of who and what we are.

APPLICATION

Are we trying to gain God’s favor and approbation? Constant attempts to “measure up” to God will frustrate the Christian life. We cannot attain the standards of God’s perfection. Only He can enable us to live the Christian life. That is why Paul again and again challenged believers to live on the basis of grace and peace, which come from the source of God and not us.

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