September 02, 2008

The Gifts of Grace and Peace

Philippians 1:1-2

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:2


For several Christmases when she was little, our youngest daughter would glue together Styrofoam cups and plates and bowls, wrap them, and place them under the tree as gifts. Her eyes would dance with joy as we each unwrapped our special gift. What we were truly privileged to receive, though, was the joy of her heart!

God delights in giving us his grace and peace. Grace is the announcement that God remembers our sins no more. Peace is the declaration that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Though we deserve anger and punishment, God delights to embrace undeserving sinners.

Paul speaks for many of us when he calls himself the “worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:16). We may painfully recall bad choices and their shameful consequences. Sometimes we work overtime to hide our sins. Often we may be overwhelmed by fear of future judgment. It doesn’t have to be like that. The gifts of grace and peace turn the “worst of sinners” into “saints in Christ Jesus.”

God delights to bind us together in a relationship of joy! No wonder Nehemiah once told God’s people: “Remember the LORD, who is great and awesome …” (Nehemiah 4:14). Can you imagine the Lord’s eyes dancing with delight as he offers grace to sinful hearts and peace to restless souls?

Dear Lord, though I have not seen you, I love you, and I am filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy for the gifts of grace and peace. Thank you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

About the author — Calvin Hoogendoorn

Rev. Calvin Hoogendoorn serves as senior pastor of First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Previously he served two churches in Illinois. He and his wife, Carla, have three daughters.

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