Elder Vernon Johnson


Philippians 1:2

    Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

There are two great themes in the epistles of Paul: grace and peace.  In the opening of every epistle, Paul makes a statement similar to the one above.  Further, in the closing of every epistle, Paul mentions once again the grace of God.  Thus, it can be said that Paul opens and closes every epistle with the mention of God's grace. 

Grace means the unmerited favor of God bestowed upon undeserving creatures.  It is by the grace of God that God works the following things for us and in us: 

1.  Salvation from sin (2 Tim. 1:8 "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.") 

2.  The Spiritual birth (Eph. 2:1 "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)" 

3.  Our belief (Acts 18:27 "And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:") 

4.  Obedience to the faith (Rom 1:5 "By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.") 

5.  Justification (Rom 3:24 "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:") 

6.  Eternal life (Rom 5:21 "That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.") 

7.  God's election of a people (Rom 11:5 "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.") 

8.  Spiritual gifts (Rom 12:6 "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;") 

9.  Gospel minister (Rom. 15:15 "Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, 16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.") 

10. Spiritual fruits and characteristics (2 Cor. 8:6 "Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. 7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.") 

11. The ability to preach (Eph 3:8 "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;") 

12. Prayer and help in time of need (Heb 4:16 "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.") 

Similarly, peace is another great theme in the scriptures and comes to us from God.  Some examples of peace that is brought to us from God are as follows: 

1.  Peace from turmoil even in the elements ((Mark 4:39 "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.") 

2.  Peace in a troubled heart (John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.") 

3.  Peace with God (Rom 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:") 

4.  Peace from conflict in the church (1 Cor 14:33 "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.") 

5.  Peace in worship between Jews and Gentiles (Eph 2:14 "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.") 

6.  Peace with God (Eph. 2:16 "And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.") 

7.  Peace in a heart condemned by sin (Eph 2:17 "And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.") 

It is important that we remember the source of this grace and peace.  It is from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thus to God be all praise and glory.