Grace and Peace

“Grace and peace to you!”  I’ve said these words so many times in my life that when I’m testing a mic they replace – “testing, one, two, three, testing.”  I start every sermon with these words too.  When the Apostle Paul wrote “Grace and peace!” to the Christians in Corinth, was he just offering a cordial greeting?  Or was he laying the stage for a powerful letter to God’s people full of God’s love and the new reality God’s people enjoy because of that love?

Before I go into that answer, what do you say to the checker at the grocery store when they greet you?  Do they really want to hear your answer?  I have to confess that sometimes when I ask people that question, I don’t really care.  I am too focused on my life, what I need to accomplish.  I need to remember that God has prepared good works for me to do.  Some of those good works are caring for the people around me.  This hit home on Tuesday when one of the guys I play soccer with didn’t show up.  He was killed in a car accident last weekend.  I was never mean or cruel to him, but as God granted me the opportunity, I look back and wonder if I could have spent more time – just a few moments – getting to know him.

Grace is a common theme in Christianity, but to understand what God is talking about we need to see our helplessness.  1st – apart from Christ there is nothing we can do.  God calls us a spiritual corpse.  If you ask a corpse what they want from Chick-fl-a, they won’t respond… because they’re dead… Maybe that’s too obvious, but if a spiritual corpse doesn’t give us a spiritual answer to a spiritual question, we shouldn’t be shocked.  Great you say, I’m baptized!  More than that, I’ve been a Christian my whole life!  I can now earn God’s favor.  Wrong again!  All of our righteous acts are like filthy rags.  That leaves us at the mercy of our God.  That is a great place to be!  This is where God’s grace comes in.  We don’t earn it.  God gives it!

Want to hear more including how God’s peace is different from the peace the world offers?  I’m talking about the peace of materialism and relationships (we spent a little time with the danger and the lie of porn).  Watch this Sunday’s message taken from 1 Corinthians 1: Grace and Peace.