Grace and Peace to You—Romans 1:7
“To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7)
The Apostle Paul starts most of his letters by greeting the recipients in this way. It would be easy to quickly read this as you would any salutation by thinking that the best is coming next. However, Paul does not waste words, and each one is intentional and powerful—after a moment or two of reflection.
"Did the people of Rome ever dare to dream that God would love them? How many of us dare to dream that God loves us too?"
Consider "To all in Rome who are loved by God…." Reading this, I wonder: Did the people of Rome ever dare to dream that God would love them? This culture was steeped in worshipping gods who were hateful and vengeful. What a beautiful breath of fresh air this simple statement must have been to the original readers. Today, how many of us dare to dream that God loves us too?
The phrase "...called to be saints" still stops me cold. Called to be saints? This radical statement is aimed at a diverse group of people historically on the outside of God’s laws, covenants, and promises. Even today when I read this passage, I still marvel that the implications of God’s invitation include sainthood.
Turning to "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ," I realized that if there was any prior doubt in this beginning that Jesus had God’s full participation in extending His grace to us, then this statement affirms that notion.
Grace—the undeserved favor and kindness—and peace—the harmony, unity, and confidence with God—are both offered by God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, the Son. This is importantly a preview of what is coming later in this letter.
Today, take a moment to ponder this greeting and what it means. May grace and peace be with you, from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and may your experience grace and peace today.
Original article published May 6, 2009.