On Sunday, September 17, church members gathered to continue studying Paul’s letter to Philemon. It was common in Paul’s time to include sort of blessing or wish in their letters, but Paul’s prayer for grace and peace, a phrase that he uses in most of his letters, are much more than him just being polite and obliging to social norms. Grace, which means favor and kindness, and peace which means harmony, security and wholeness, enters our lives from God, as the origin and source of grace and peace in our lives. Not only God is the origin, but he is also the one who brings grace and peace to us through Jesus Christ, just as Romans 5:1-2 and John 1:14 testify.
Paul is not saying a mere polite words, but words that testify the transformation he experienced though receiving the love of Jesus Christ and the grace and peace that overflows in his life now. He is using ordinary, common things, like this personal letter to speak powerful words into lives of other people sharing the fullness of grace he was giving in Jesus. We must realize here that words are important and with our words we can both curse and bless, so we should use our words to testify God’s love and know that God can work through our words and bring peace and grace into other people’s lives. The overflow of God’s love, grace and peace through Jesus Christ in Paul’s heart is the mark of true Christianity which is not simply a religion of good morals and acts, of trying to do what is good and right, but it’s experiencing the fullness of God’s love in our hearts which then manifests itself in the way we think, speak and act in the world.