“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:1-2 ESV
“What then is the vital link between Paul, his readers, and his message? It is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. For Paul the author is “an apostle of Christ Jesus,” the readers are themselves in Christ Jesus, and the blessing comes to them both from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, who are bracketed as the single spring from which grace and peace flow.” Reading Ephesians with John Stott
It is hard to disagree with Stott when he claims that Jesus is the consuming thought of the apostle Paul as he puts pen to parchment to write to these precious and loved saints in Ephesus. Paul’s apostleship is in Christ and by the will and appointment of Christ. The saints in Ephesus are faithful in Christ, that is, Christ is the very heart and reason for their faithfulness. Finally, the needed grace and peace of these and all believers are found in God the Father and in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus is clearly the glue that binds together the office of the apostle, the faithfulness of believers, and the needed fuel and benefits to carry on in the Christian life: grace and peace.
Benefit of Grace
Grace is the primary benefit that all saints have received, in order to even be called saints. Without grace no man knows the Father and no man partakes of the Son and no man tastes of the presence of His mighty Spirit. Without grace we are still in misery.
What is the first benefit of grace? Peace! Peace with whom? Peace with God the Father! How was this peace made possible? Through the shed blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ who has satisfied the wrath of God against all those who will believe in Him! How is this peace received? It only flows to sinners by grace, the unmerited favor of the Father and only to those sinners who will condescend to Christ’s condescension and receive His gift by faith in His mighty name!
Blessings of Peace with God
What kind of peace is this? It is peace with God. Peace with Him of whom we were once at war. Jesus has torn down the wall of hostility.
“For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” Ephesians 2:14-16
All the saints are in Christ and Christ is at perfect peace with the Father and in Christ we too are at perfect peace because Jesus is our peace. This peace entails many benefits. In the OT shalom signified the fullness of peace with God, which includes all of the blessings of the new relational standing, a standing of peace rather than war. Peace is not just the absence of hostility between two parties once at war. No, peace also means the presence of blessings in this new relationship.
Peace with God means a completeness and a wholeness that includes health, safety, friendship, blessing, and satisfaction. Everything I once sought to receive from this world and was sorely disappointed, I have now found the fullness of through faith in Jesus Christ. For those who believe on Christ, He is our satisfaction, our wholeness. Jesus makes us the friends of God! Friends give blessings to one another in the friendship. In Jesus we find the perfect health remedy for our souls. Though the physical man be stricken with disease, the soul of the believer is well in Christ Jesus. “It is well with my soul!” We find in Christ perfect safety. He is the Rock that has cleft for all who trust in Him. Only in Christ can the glory of the Lord pass over us and we live. In Christ we find our satisfaction, our contentment. Though the world be in chaos, our souls can rest secure and content with Christ. All of these benefits are bound up for the believer in Christ and are the believer’s first fruits of the grace of God. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
True or False Peace?
The world offers its own brand of peace, but it is not true peace. Jesus said,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27
The world gives a temporary, false sense of peace, but there is no true peace in this world. True peace is only found in Jesus. That is, true health (the health that matters most), true safety (the safety of the soul hidden in Christ), true satisfaction (trust in the eternal wellspring of God’s person), true friendship (friendship with God), and true blessing (all of the rest of the benefits of God that flow from His eternal storehouses) are only and forever found in the grace of God the Father and peace through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!