The Book of Ephesians ~ Opening Salutation ~ Chapter 1:2; We Receive Grace and Peace Through Christ

Vol. 14 No. 23

For it is by grace you have been saved

Eph 1:2, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Here we have two more things that we receive from God at salvation that continue to be part of our lives during our spiritual walk in Christ Jesus; grace and peace. Grace is all that God does for man, and peace is the result of God’s grace applied towards the believer. “Grace” contains the meaning of receiving something completely undeserved, and “peace” contains the idea of enjoying inner tranquility, undisturbed by external circumstances. Therefore, these two are part of our “Riches in Christ.”

Grace” is the Greek noun CHARIS, χάρις and “peace” is the noun EIRENE εἰρήνη. Combined, as here, were the normal fashion of greetings in those days.

CHARIS means, “grace, graciousness, kindness, goodwill, a gift, a favor, thanks, or even gratitude.” It is formed from the root CHAR, whose derivatives all focus on that which gives pleasure, benefit and happiness. Thus there is a certain relationship between CHARIS, “grace or kindness,” and CHARA, “joy.” CHARIS evokes joy and delight, often in a totally undeserved and unexpected way.

Occurring about 155 times in the NT where about 100 of these are in the letters of Paul, CHARIS plays a crucial role in the NT’s presentation of God’s relationship to mankind. Grace is the autograph of the decree of God’s kingdom; it is governed by grace.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary.)

Grace is consistently defined as God’s “gracious” act of redemption in Christ. Because of His grace God justifies the unworthy and undeserving and through grace in Christ He grants them a share in eternal life, Rom 3:24f; 5:1f, 15. Grace as a way of salvation stands in opposition to any thought that someone can be saved by the Law or their human good works. Grace excludes any hope of achieving righteousness through works of the Law or self-redemption, Rom 6:14; Gal 5:4.

Eph 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, so that no man may boast,” cf. Titus 3:5.

Grace and faith, therefore, complement one another, Rom 4:16; Eph 2:8. By faith we accept grace, and by faith the grace is in effect. Grace and faith, then, form an inseparable unity, 1 Tim 1:14.

1 Tim 1:14, “And the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.”

God’s intervention in history for establishing a New Covenant, and His effort to maintain it are both manifestations of His grace. Therefore, grace is at the same time the cause and the effect of the saving work of Jesus Christ, John 3:16, 36. The main gifts we receive because of the grace of God are the forgiveness of sins, fellowship with God, and eternal life, (i.e., Positional, Experiential and Ultimate Sanctification), Rom 3:24f.; 5:1f.; Eph 2:5f.

Grace forms the basis for fellowship with God and the forgiveness of sins experientially, 1 John 1:6ff, just as faith worked hand in hand with grace to see that forgiveness was realized positionally resulting in your salvation.

Being a Christian means one is a “partaker” of grace, Phil 1:7, and it is in this grace that believers “stand,” Rom 5:2. Therefore, grace is the sphere of existence for believers, Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3; Col 1:2, and we live every aspect of our lives in light of His grace. We are, as Paul said in Rom 6:14, “under grace.” As we noted in Gal 5:4, although we “stand” in grace, we may “fall” from it in regard to temporal loss of our Experiential Sanctification.

Therefore, the Bible speaks of different levels of grace.

  • God’s grace is made manifest through the gifts, (charismata), given and distributed by the Holy Spirit, Rom 12:6; Eph 4:7.

Rom 12:6, “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith.”

  • Believers can be strong or weak in their faith in the Grace of God, 2 Tim 2:1; cf. John 1:16; 2 Peter 3:18. So the effects of grace take place on multiple levels.

As such, the various gifts of grace and demonstrations of grace are all manifestations of the one grace; the grace of God in Christ Jesus. It instructs us in holy living and provides the impetus for our sanctification, cf. 2 Tim 2:1; Titus 2:11-12.

Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.”

Having understood the first aspect of Paul’s greeting, “grace,” which is God’s unmerited favor and love expressed towards mankind, we now explore the second aspect which is “peace,” the Greek noun EIRENE, εἰρήνη. As noted above “peace” is the result of God’s grace applied towards the believer that contains the idea of enjoying inner tranquility undisturbed by external circumstances. It is simply a synonym for blessing.

In our passage, both grace and peace are given to us by “God our Father,” APO THEOS PATER, who has a marvelous plan for all believers, “and the Lord Jesus Christ,” KURIOS IESOUS CHRISTOS, who by His grace purchased our peace upon the Cross. “Lord” or KURIOS is used for the deity of Christ, the second person of the Trinity, the One by whom we understand God and His grace and peace.

The Greek word for “peace,” EIRENE, literally means, “a state of concord, peace or harmony,” and by implication, “welfare or a state of well-being,” including “security and prosperity.” The Hebrew equivalent is SHALOM, ‏שָׁלוֹם‎, which also means “peace, welfare, security, safety, or prosperity.”

Joseph Thayer says EIRENE is used in the New Testament for:

  1. A state of national tranquility.
  2. Peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord.
  3. Security, safety, prosperity.
  4. The way that leads to peace (salvation).
  5. The tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ and so fearing nothing from God being content with its earthly lot of whatsoever sort that it is.
  6. The blessed state of believers after death.

As believers we have two main categories of Peace, Positional and Experiential.

  • Positional Peace:

Due to the believer’s irrevocable salvation, positionally the believer is at peace with God, i.e., reconciled to God. That is, we have a direct relationship with Him. There is nothing dividing us or keeping us apart.

The peace between God and the believer was achieved by the completed work of Jesus Christ on the Cross where He broke down the barrier between God and man by paying the penalty for our sins and the sins of the unbeliever, 1 John 2:2, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

Because the unbeliever has not accepted His saving work on their behalf, (i.e. believed in Him), the barrier remains between them and God, and there is no peace for them positionally or experientially.

But for the believer there is peace.

Rom 5:1-2, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”

Eph 2:12-18, “Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances (that which told of what sin was), so that in Himself He might make the two (Jew and Gentile) into one new man, thus establishing peace16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the Cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near18for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Italic mine.)

“Peace” and “reconciliation,” KATALLASSO, are synonymous terms in this passage and Eph 4:3; 6:15; Col 1:20. All believers are reconciled to God the moment they believe in Christ, but the work of reconciliation actually took place on the Cross.

2 Cor 5:18-19, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

Peace or reconciliation between God and man must be ratified in every individual case through personal faith in Jesus Christ. The means of ratification is personal faith in Jesus Christ.

Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved; and if anyone in your household believes in Christ, they too will be saved.”

Our personal sins were imputed to Jesus Christ on the Cross and were judged by God the Father. The imputation of our sins to Christ is the major factor in the removal of all barriers between us and God.

Peace is not only a synonym for reconciliation but is the only way to completely understand what God did for us and that there was nothing we could do for salvation.

Peace is a synonym for reconciliation since being reconciled to God through faith in Christ establishes peace between God and the believer.

Peace means that we have His righteousness and His life.

Col 1:19-22, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. 21And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”

Peace or reconciliation was portrayed in the Levitical offerings. All Old Testament teaching is related to the ritual Plan of God for the Dispensation of Israel, in that the peace offering taught reconciliation, Lev 3; 6:37-38; 8:15.

In Lev 2:13, eating salt represented peace between two enemies. God eating salt is a picture of propitiation. Man eating salt is a picture of reconciliation.

Finally, peace with God or Reconciliation was prophesied in Isa 57:17‑21, which was fulfilled by Jesus Christ on the Cross. Jesus Christ, being judged for our sins on the Cross, removed the barrier between God and man, and provided for man’s reconciliation to God through faith in Him.

Therefore, by application, reconciliation is the means of peace and unity between God and man, and as we will see, the means of preserving unity among the brethren. In Positional Sanctification, the baptism of the Holy Spirit removes all barriers between believer and believer, “the two have been made into one.”  In Experiential Sanctification, the spiritual skills become the means of the unity among believers post salvation modus operandi.

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  • Experiential Peace:

Experientially we have the peace of Jesus Christ by having His Word resident within our souls and by being filled with the Holy Spirit, as a result of rebounding – 1 John 1:9), John 14:23, 25-27; Rom 8:6; 14:17; Phil 4:9.

John 14:25, “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

Rom 8:6, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”

Rom 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Phil 4:9, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

As we have noted, the Greek word EIRENE means, “benefit, prosperity welfare, peace, tranquility, harmony, health, ect.”

  1. In regard to benefit, the believer is benefited by the intake of Bible doctrine.
  2. In regard to prosperity, the believer becomes prosperous through the intake of Bible doctrine.
  3. In regard to welfare in the true Biblical sense, not in the communist sense, the believer’s welfare is directly related to the amount of doctrine which he absorbs into his soul.

With these first three you have tranquility, which is based upon Bible doctrine being resident within your soul. Therefore, we have peace accruing within our souls through the daily function of the Grace Apparatus for Perception, GAP, which in effect is the subject of the Ephesians epistle, cf. Psa 119:165; Prov 3:13-18.

Prov 3:13, “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. 14For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. 15She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. 16Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 17Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. 18She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.”

Psa 119:165, “Those who love Your law (Bible Doctrine) have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.”

There are times in life when your peace is based simply on your own ignorance; “ignorance is bliss” they say. “Turning a blind eye,” or “putting your head in the sand,” does not make problems and difficulties go away, you are only avoiding the inevitable, which many times gives the believer a false sense of peace. But when we are awakened to the realities of life, true inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus Himself. That is why grace and peace go hand in hand. When the grace of God comes into your life, you can handle the realities of life and as a result have God’s peace within your soul.

Rom 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”

Psa 55:18, “He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me, for they are many who strive with me.”

2 Thes 3:16, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!”

Col 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

When our Lord speaks peace, He creates peace, because the words that He speaks are always “spirit, and they are life”, John 6:63. Therefore, by learning and apply His Word in faith you will experience His peace.

1 Cor 14:33, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”

Rom 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing (Faith Rest), so that you will abound in hope (confidence) by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Psa 4:8, “In peace (shalom) I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.”

Psa 29:11, “The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.”

To have God’s peace experientially also means we must consistently apply faith in our prayers, 1 John 5:14-15.

1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”

Your prayer life enters you into His peace experientially, not only by rebounding, 1 John 1:9, but by turning all your needs, cares and worries over to the Father and faith resting that He hears and answers those prayer, Phil 4:6-7.

Phil 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Peace is also a part of our Divine Good Production, i.e., the Fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-23.

Gal 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Post salvation peace is the result of the “fruit of the Spirit,” which is a source of great inner happiness and peace of the spiritual life.

Rom 2:10, “Glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

When you are walking in the peace of God you are producing Divine good, cf. John 14:27; 15:1-11, which results in triple-compound everlasting rewards, “gold, silver and precious gems,” 1 Cor 3:12-14.

So we have seen that relationship with the integrity of God, (His righteousness and justice), first means salvation, then fellowship with God, and finally blessing from God as mature believers. Through adjustment in the mentality of our souls to the justice and righteousness of God, we will have His peace within our souls and will walk in that peace.

2 Peter 3:14, “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.”

Heb 13:20, “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:

 #’s 15-061, 15-0-62, 15-063

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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,

died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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