Titus 1:4 “To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.”
I have always found it interesting how people end their correspondence. In recent years email has taken the place of written letters, but the complimentary close has stayed similar though quite varied. Often we tend to sign off our message with the word “Love.” In business it is more official to say “Sincerely.” Yet there have been numerous other niceties I have come across over the years such as “Thanks,” “Affectionately Yours,” “Blessings,” “Joyfully,” and the plain old “From.” Some try to be very creative with phrases like “For God and His glory,” “Serving His Kingdom,” and once I even read, “Here, there, or in the air!” I wonder whether we really think about what we are saying, or is it just a perfunctory habit.
When you read the letters written by the Apostle Paul, you begin to see a particular pattern. He announced himself to his readers at the beginning of the correspondence instead of the end, and usually included some variation of the words, “Grace” and “Peace.” I have wondered if this was just his version of our “Love, Paul,” but recently I began to look more at the meanings of these two words.
Grace is an undeserved gift given by God to men and women that grants faith needed to accept Christ as Savior. We are saved by grace through faith, not of works lest anyone should boast (Eph. 2:8-9). It is also the divine energy needed to live a godly life in a wicked world and it equips a believer to testify with courage and to serve God in effective witness. Acts 4:33 shows that the apostles were able to give powerful testimony of the Lord Jesus as abundant grace was upon them all. In everything we do, big or small, for living and serving we need grace. Even the air surrounding us and our ability to inhale is a gift of God’s grace.
Peace is a key characteristic of God and Jesus, His Son, Who is called the Prince of Peace. It starts with a renewed relationship with our heavenly Father obtained through receiving what Christ did on the cross. It is part of the fruit of the Spirit and the result of a heart’s being healed from the anguish over sin. It is also a calmness and freedom from anxiety that is produced by faith that God is fully in control regardless of our understanding of adverse circumstances. “To wish someone ‘peace’ is to wish him God’s presence, and the whole personal fulfillment, completeness, and wholeness that flow only from that presence.” (The New International of New Testament Theology).
It is regularly apparent that what we need most to survive spiritually, emotionally, physically, and in every other area of life are grace and peace. So Paul’s usual benediction in his letters highlighting these two things was very pertinent. He knew he depended on them, and his original readers, as well as we, would need these gifts of God, too. It was his fervent prayer for those he loved.
In light of my own daily need for God’s gifts of grace and peace, I am rethinking how I end all my correspondence. Do I mean the things I say and do the words have real significance? Or are they just habits of our particular society? Along with all the typical short complimentary closes, maybe we should all consider adding Paul’s very appropriate blessing. After all, these are things we all desperately need.
So in closing . . . may God grant you today all His abundant grace and peace!