3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Galatians 1:3-5)
Why in fact did Jesus come to earth? Let’s examine what the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatian churches in order to find the answer to this question.
To begin with, the Epistle to the Galatians was not written to one church, but rather to several churches in what is now present day Turkey. Paul wrote this epistle to the churches he established during his First Missionary Journey. He did so in order to oppose false teachers (Judaizers) who were undermining the doctrine of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. In other words, these false teachers were undermining the gospel, and therefore they were undermining Jesus Christ and the purpose for His coming to earth.
Therefore, Paul immediately addressed the person of Christ in his introductory greeting. He briefly explored the rich themes of why Jesus Christ came. This at once thrusts the purpose of the letter to the fore: the issue between the Galatians and Paul was the significance of Christ.
First, Jesus Christ came to earth as the incarnation of God the Father’s grace and peace. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father…” (Galatians 1:3a). Grace (χάρις; charis) is defined as “unmerited favor.” It is the bestowing of pleasure, delight, or favorable regard from one to another. It is God’s loving-kindness to sinners who deserve judgment. Peace (εἰρήνη; eirene) is the resulting harmony, on the basis of grace, between God and sinful man. Peace is accomplished through the gospel and is also the rest and contentment consequentially as the result of God’s grace.
Notice that whenever grace and peace are mentioned by the apostle in his New Testament epistles, the word grace always precedes the word peace. That is because peace is always the result of grace. We have peace with God (Romans 5:1) because of the grace of God. We never make our own peace with God. Rather, He makes peace with sinners solely on the basis of His grace.
Romans 5:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Romans 5:6-8 says, “6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Ephesians 1:3-9 says, “3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ.”
Dr. John MacArthur writes that, “Paul’s typical greeting attacked the Judaizers’ legalistic system. If salvation is by works as they claimed, it is not of “grace” and cannot result in “peace,” since no one can be sure he has enough good works to be eternally secure.”
Are you secure in the amazing grace of God who sought to save your soul by sending His Son to this fallen world to die in your place on the cross? Salvation by grace, and its resulting peace, is not a mere possibility when a sinner is in Christ, but rather it is a certainty.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!