December 04, 2017
To the ekklesia, the church, struggling to navigate faithfully through day-to-day life in Corinth, Paul here announces the word from God and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace!
To those “who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints,” Paul announces the word from God and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace!
To those “who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (that includes us) Paul announces the word from God and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace!
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Beginning with the enlivening, enriching, calling, convening, consecrating, equipping Word of God—grace and peace—Paul pens his letter to the church, maintaining throughout the remaining 6689 words that the course for faithful living as God’s people has been blazed by that Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.
The crucified-risen One is the navigator for our journey through the struggle to live faithfully, blamelessly. It is Christ who equips us to follow his lead so that even in the grind of daily life which may often be filled with conflict, disputes, division, dissension, uncertainties, heartaches, headaches, and questions we might respond to God’s call that has brought us into the fellowship of Christ; respond with our life together being a sign of God’s grace and peace for the world.
God has not called us in Christ and then left us to our own devices to blaze a trail for life together. To live faithfully as saints of God is to follow the way of Jesus Christ which always leads us to the cross. The cross bears up the faithful One, who, planted in the earth’s soil has taken root and so branched out into all the world with God’s grace and peace—into our lives and our life together. As the fruit of his growth we now bear his grace and peace into the world; we now share his blessing with our neighbors so all might taste and see, all might enjoy the grand goodness, the mysterious mercy, the lavish love of God and also be blessed.
Grace and peace—what amazing words!
As we enter this season of increasing darkness this is just the word we need to hear so we might be guided through to the light. As we enter this season of waiting for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ—as our longing increases for that Day when all is restored, re-formed, renewed in Love’s embrace and God’s good creation knows no way other than peace, joy, love, abundant life—may this Word bolster and strengthen us for the struggle of living out our calling faithfully here and now, together the saints of God.