So many times while reading the Epistles I will read over words without really wondering why these words are used. Well in several of the Epistles Paul sends"Grace & Peace to the members of the churches, this is found in Romans, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians!
It is mentioned 9 times in the New Testament, things are normally repeated for emphasis. So God seems to want us to experience grace & peace.
James 4:3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
HEre is the definition from Dictionary.com
2.(often initial capital letter) an agreement or treaty between warring or antagonistic nations, groups, etc., to end hostilities and abstain from further fighting or antagonism: the Peace of Ryswick.
3.a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, esp. in personal relations: Try to live in peace with your neighbors.
8.a state or condition conducive to, proceeding from, or characterized by tranquillity: the peace of a mountain resort.
I really like the second definition because it indicates a decision was made. That we can "make peace" or decide to be at "peace".
In Romans we see grace & peace reversed in this verse:
Romans 16:20The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
So with the peace of God we can crush Satan under our feet.
Everytime I think about peace I am reminded of :Philippians 4:7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I cannot imagine how many times I have prayed this for myself and for others. But at the time I did not realize that peace could crush Satan under my feet. If we are not warring and if we are in harmony with the people around us, that really takes care of a lot of sins: lust, coveting, hate etc...
Often to maintain peace all we have to do is think of other's as more important than ourselves and remember we must be kind and compassionate. Then there would not be a foothold for the devil, its a way to protect our testimonies and to love Christ.
If in the end all we want to do is to bring glory to the King then our constant focus on the things around us is counterproductive. In fact as we pursue our pleasures it leads to sin! Because as it says in James 4:3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
HEre is the definition from Dictionary.com:
5. mercy; clemency; pardon: an act of grace 8. Theology. a. the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. b. the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them. c. a virtue or excellence of divine origin: the Christian graces. d. Also called state of grace. the condition of being in God's favor or one of the elect.
Again grace is something that God gives us. Not something we earn.
Grace & Peace to you!