Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Colossians 1:2)
After introducing himself to the Colossians as an apostle of Jesus the Messiah, and introducing them to themselves as faithful brothers and sisters in the Messiah, Paul offers a benediction, as he does so often in his letters.A benediction is a prayer of blessing. A common Jewish salutation in those days was “Greetings and peace.” The Greek word for “greetings” is chairein, but Paul has replaced that with a related word, one that is theologically much more potent: charis — grace! Grace is the favor of God, who opens up all the resources of heaven on our behalf.
The Greek word for “peace” is irene, but Paul, being Jewish, no doubt had the Hebrew word shalom in mind, which is, again, more theologically profound. Shalom speaks of wholeness and restoration, with nothing missing or broken. The shalom of God is the wholeness that comes from being in right relationship, in covenant relationship, with God.
The divine favor and wholeness of which Paul speaks comes from “God our Father.” Here again, Paul signifies the relationship he has with the believers at Colosse (see Building Relationship at Colosse). God is our Father. This speaks of family, of household, of inheritance. As believers in Jesus the Messiah, we each have a place in the family and a share in the abundance of the house. Paul teaches us elsewhere that we share equally in the inheritance with Jesus Himself (Romans 8:17).
Father’s blessing of favor and wholeness comes to us also from the Son, Jesus the Messiah. The confession we make as Christians is that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9), which is to say that He is both God and King over all. It is through Him, through faith in Him, that we have wholeness in our relationship with God the Father and enjoy His favor (Romans 5:1).
(For more about the benedictions found in the New Testament, see Praying With Fire: Change Your World with the Powerful Prayers of the Apostles.)
The Focus of Our Faith
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Colosse
Bite-Size Studies Through Colossians
by Jeff Doles
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