“To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.” (Titus 1:4 (ESV)
Grace and peace. Before we begin to study what the Apostle Paul had to say to Titus about his ministry in Crete, attention must be given to two Greek words found in vs. 4. Those two words are grace and peace.
To most believers in Christ, grace and peace are familiar words. They are contained in many church hymns and gospel songs. They are the topics of Christian books and slogans found on wall hangings. The words may even be displayed in your church sanctuary or worship center.
Why are these two words so important? Why would Paul use them in each of his thirteen New Testament epistles? Historically, they were part of a common greeting; such as hello or how are you? But is that all they represented?
Grace (χάρις; charis) means favor, good will, and kindness. Grace is more than favor but rather unmerited favor, undeserved good will and kindness to sinners. It is favor, good will and kindness from God wherein He is under no obligation to show favor, good will and kindness.
Peace (εἰρήνη; Eirene) refers to freedom from worry and to have tranquility. Peace is also the absence of enmity or war between two parties. In certain contexts the Greek word for peace is seen in the OT concept of the Shalom, i.e., welfare, health (Matt. 10:34; Mark 5:34; John 14:27; 16:33; 20:19, 21; Rom. 1:7; 5:1; 15:33; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 2:14; Php. 4:7, 9; Col. 3:15).
Notice the word order. Grace always precedes peace in the New Testament epistles. For example, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” (1 Peter 1:1–2 (ESV)
There can be no peace for the sinner unless God first disposes His grace. This unmerited favor is initiated by the Holy Spirit’s regenerating work (John 3:1-8) whereby God brings the spiritually dead to life (Eph. 2:5-7). This new life in the person and work of Jesus Christ results in peace with God (Rom. 5:1) and the peace of God (Php. 4:6-7).
“Grace, the free favour of God, and acceptance with him. Peace, the positive effect and fruit of grace and mercy. Peace with God through Christ who is our peace, and with the creatures and ourselves; outward and inward peace, comprehending all good whatsoever, that makes for our happiness in time and to eternity,” explains Puritan Matthew Henry.
Do you know God’s peace? Peace is the result of receiving by faith God’s grace of salvation in Jesus Christ. May it be so.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!