I felt the Lord leading me to 2 Cor today but as I began to read, I didn’t get any further than verse two, Paul’s greeting to the church at Corinth….
‘Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.’
I have read Paul’s greetings in his various letters many times but today I felt compelled to dig deeper.
So I started by looking at the word grace. Paul is wishing them grace from God and Jesus.
So what exactly is grace?
In this verse we have the grace of God and the best way I’ve heard it described is…
‘the unmerited favour of God to unworthy sinners.’
It is God’s loving kindness to us in spite of all our sin.
‘It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.’ Lam 3:22
It is…”of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.” (@blueletterbible app)
The Greek word is ‘charis’ and is also translated elsewhere in the Bible as favour and thanks.
This really interested me and sent me off on a tangent, looking at the verses where it is translated as thanks, where as favour and where as grace.
I found that the word favour is generally used where one finds favour with God or man, e.g. Luke 1:30…
‘And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.’
Grace is generally used where the favor of God towards man is described e.g….
‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.’
And thanks is generally used in reference to man being thankful to God for His grace, e.g…
‘Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.’
So we have Paul wishing them the unmerited favour and loving kindness of God toward them but tied up in that grace is the response of a thankful heart to God for His grace, favour and lovingkindness toward us.
How that spoke to me! I fall and fail and yet still God has mercy upon me, to forgive me and not cut me off.
We are surrounded by God’s mercies but how often do our hearts overflow with thanks? In contrast how often do we grumble?
Are we not commanded to give thanks in EVERYTHING?
What, you say, even in the hard? Yes friend, even in the hard, especially in the hard, for this is where the greatest peace is found.
Some of you will have heard this before but as I sat by my Dad’s hospital bed as he lay dying, paralysed and unable to speak after a massive stroke at only age 66, God whispered into my heart these words…’in EVERYTHING give thanks.’
At first I just froze and then I asked the Lord, even in this? And the Lord gently replied, even in this. I began to pray for God to help me and as He did, I began to thank Him even for this….
And then friends, came the most indescribable peace.
It was that peace that passes all understanding, that is promised in Phil 4:7, that peace that comes when we are helped to rejoice always and give thanks EVEN in the hard places.
And do you know what friends, this word charis, (grace, thanks,) is a root word from the Greek word ‘chario’ which means to rejoice exceedingly, to be glad!!
Chario is the word used in Phil 4:4 ‘Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.’ and in verse 6 we have ‘euCHARIStia’ (thanksgiving), ‘Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.’
And sandwiched between rejoicing and Thanksgiving we have prayer.
We see the same thing again in 1 Thess 5:16-18…
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’
You see, again we have chario, (rejoice) and euCHARISteo (give thanks) sandwiching the command to pray! And it is ALL of ‘charis’, God’s grace, as God in His great love to us, helps us to rejoice and be thankful.
Do you see it Friends? God has grace toward us, that we in return might give thanks. That we might rejoice in who we are because of who He is!
‘He giveth more grace’, that we might give more thanks.
The more we are shown our need of God’s grace and the more we are made aware of our need of total dependence on Him alone, the more thankful our hearts will be for grace given.
Dependence upon God doesn’t equal bondage, dependence upon God equals a joyful, thankful heart for this great God who has an endless supply of free grace to help us to live aright and for His glory.
THIS is what Paul desired for the Corinthians and THIS friend is what God desire for each of His dear children and what I desire for myself and for You friend.
How much of our prayer life consists of rejoicing and thanksgiving to God for His grace toward us and a desire for help to be more dependant?
So, back to Paul’s greeting, finally, what flows out of this charis?…
PEACE! That peace of God, that peace that surpasses knowledge and understanding, that perfect peace that comes from resting in Christ alone, in depending on our God for everything. The peace that Paul also desired for the church at Corinth.
What is peace? The Greek is ‘eriene’, also translated as rest and quietness.
Peace is a sweet resting in the finished work of Christ.
It is trusting and resting in the knowledge that God does all things well and works all together for our good and it comes as a result of rejoicing and giving thanks whatever our circumstances.
“of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.”. (@blueletterbible app)
Is not this what each child of God longs for?
And where does it come from? It comes from a heart that rejoices always, prays without ceasing and gives thanks in everything!
It is Phil 4:4-8…
‘Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, SHALL keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.’
Oh for a more thankful heart toward God for His great mercy and love and grace toward us! Oh for a heart that continually rejoices in the Lord, oh for our thoughts to centred only on our God and those things listed above!
‘Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ..
P.S. The free scripture verse cards for April are now available for download at…..