We often hear people say, “I am blessed.” Often, this is expressed in reference to prosperity, health, children, or peace. Indeed, our “blessings” come in diverse and unexpected shapes.
In the book of Numbers, Aaron and the priests were instructed to bless the people in this way:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
~ Numbers 6.24-26, ESV
Paul echoes this blessing as he opens his letters to various churches and individuals:
- “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 3)
- “Grace and Peace to You” (1 Thessalonians 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:2
- “Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (1 Timothy 1:2 & 2 Timothy 1:2)
Peter uses this as well:
“May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” (1 Peter 1:2)
And, John the apostle does also:
“Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.” (2 John 1:3)
What greater blessings can we have from the Lord than grace and peace?
The Blessing of Grace
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
~ Ephesians 2.8-10, ESV
Grace is one of the greatest blessings we receive from the Lord.
We work for the Lord because we loved Him, and yet our works do not save us because our sin stands to condemn us in spite of our work. Under the Law of Moses, constant sacrifices had to be offered for every sin or impurity. Under the Law of Christ, He died one time for all time. When we come into contact with His blood through baptism, it continues to wash away our sins as we continue in repentance and transformation.
Grace does not give us license to do as we please. The scripture in Ephesians clearly says, we are created in Christ Jesus for good works… to walk in them. As Paul points out:
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
~ Romans 6.1-4, ESV
Grace inevitably leads to an inner peace transcending our circumstance.
The Blessing of Peace
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 4.6-7, ESV
Circumstances toss us around like waves in the ocean, but within the shelter of God’s hand rests unshakeable peace. If you are being pounded by distress or simply overwhelmed with the demands of the day, lay it out before the Lord. Place your calendar or to-do list on the table and request His help to see you through.
Request His help, do the next thing, and trust Him with the rest.
You are loved by the Lord. May you find joy in these beautiful blessings that are not dependent on the vicissitudes of life, but on the constancy of our unchanging God.