“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Galatians 1:3-5)
The beginning of Paul’s letter assumes sin and conflict.
Grace** and peace are needed in every community–Christian or not–because communities are filled with imperfect people who are selfish, vain, and prideful. We need God’s grace, his undeserved favor and we need peace with him and others. Let us then not become surprised at sin and conflict when we see it. More importantly, let’s look to control our sin and keep our mouths from conflict with others.
The Gospel was always on Paul’s mind.
Thoughts about the gospel ought to be as regular as eating or sleeping or talking with others. It’s easy to leave the basics behind, but this is a poor habit. There can be no success when the fundamentals are forgotten. Make no mistake, the center of our faith is that the Father has sent his Son to save us from evil–his salvation is necessary and we are unable to attain it for ourselves.
God’s will prevails. Always.
Our freedom is real. And while this mystery cannot be solved, we know what is expected of us: we ought to glorify God above all. We glorify many things: incredible experiences or outstanding people, achievement or the accumulation of more stuff. Everything in creation is is falsely glorified when it ought to be a sign prompting us to glorify the creator.
Paul’s introduction is simple. In a way, it wasn’t very special because was similar to common letter introductions during this time. It’s easy to skip–a trap I often fall into, I’m afraid to admit. But there are great insights waiting to be discovered when we pause for a moment.
What have I missed? How is the Holy Spirit speaking to you through these few words of introduction?
**Here’s a good explanation of Grace from the Lexham Theological Workbook:
“Grace refers to the condition of being given or shown favor, especially by someone in a position to exercise goodwill by meeting a particular need. Grace can also refer to the manifestation of such a disposition of kindness in the form of material benefaction, including the giving of gifts, the approval of one’s request, the granting of freedom or mercy, and the deliverance or salvation from evil or harm.”