By Stan Brown
Ephesians 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
In each of Paul’s thirteen letters, his greeting includes grace and peace. He adds mercy in his letters to Timothy. Eleven of them include from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul will use the word grace twelve times in Ephesians. Four times he uses it in direct relationship to the gift of eternal salvation. It signifies the gift that we have received from God through none of our own merit. Paul greets us, as his readers, with this reminder of what God has done for us already as well as a promise of God’s enablement in our lives (But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift (4:7)). Hoehner writes “It is no mere introductory cliché. It is the Gospel in one word.” In effect, Paul says to us ‘May His grace be upon you, both in what He has done for you and in what He will enable you to do.’
If God’s unlimited grace is the cause then peace is the result. Because of God’s grace we live in a state of peace with him as He enables us to live in peace with each other. It is possible this greeting is built on the blessing with which Moses was to bless the children of Israel in Numbers 6:24-26, The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’
Paul declares that the source of grace and peace is from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. In the first chapter of Ephesians there will be an emphasis on all three persons of the Trinity. Here, he emphasizes the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The New Testament stresses the Father/child relationship we have with God. The idea of God the Father is used only fifteen times in the Old Testament and over 260 times in the New, forty-five times by Paul.
• Jesus taught us to call God, Father as we come to Him in prayer “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, (Matt. 6:9).
• Jesus called on Abba! Father in His time of great need, (And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will ( Mark 14:36 )”).
• Paul tells us that we may also call Him by the extremely personal term Abba, (Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father! (Gal. 4:6)”) For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father! (Rom. 8:15)”
• The word Lord points to the idea that Jesus of the New Testament is Yahweh of the Old Testament.
As Paul begins his epistle, we are struck with the fact that our magnificent God has provided us with His unlimited grace in order that we might live in complete peace with Him and with each other. This grace includes an intimate relationship with the Creator of the universe whom we may call upon as Abba! Father!.