Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness.
May God's grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph 6:23-24)
We have now reached the point of Paul closing statements for the general letter to the Ephesians or the Circular Letter to the Churches of ProConsular Asia if you feel that is a better description (See Gem 597). Paul concludes his letter with the standard combination of greetings: Peace (Hebrew) and Grace (Greek). We seem to have standardized the order these days by saying Grace and Peace, but the order in those days was Peace and Grace. The Hebrew greeting first and then the Greek.
Remember the background to these words which we dealt with in the Gemz of Romans. (Gems 135-137) The Hebrew word shalom is so much more that just an absence of war or quiet tranquil feelings that come when every thing is "at peace". Shalom [שׁלום ] has a much wider meaning. It signifies the concept of the soundness of being, body soul and spirit that comes with the consummation of all God intends. It links also the "rest of the people of God" [Heb 4:1-11] in terms of us finding consummate peace and prosperity as God intended at creation. May you have wellness of body, soul and spirit. Grace [χάρις, cháris] is a New Testament (Greek) concept. It has many meanings but what is more important to us is its new technical Christian meaning. In a post resurrection era grace has the idea of gift or the unmerited favour of God. GRACE is God's Riches At Christ Expense. Peace and Grace combined the best of both worlds, Hebrew and Greek: the peace God intended from the Garden of Eden combined with the blessing bestowed in a post resurrection world and both of these concepts to reach their final consummation when Christ returns and the peace and grace of God's original intentions are restored.
I think it is appropriate at this stage to follow Paul's lead and wish for peace and grace to be granted to you all. Why, because it is coming up to Christmas and with the coming of Christmas is the ushering in of the season of peace and grace. Ah but when and how long does that season extend? Don't you get it? It was ushered in with the first coming of the Christ and will reach its consummation when He comes again. Dispensationalist say we are living in the age of grace. We are indeed living in the age when God is pouring out His unmerited favour upon all who will hear His voice. But there is a time coming when you will know peace and grace beyond your wildest imaginings, when all will be as God intended it. Now that is a season of peace and grace to look forward to. So I take the opportunity to wish you a timely Blessed Christmas from Berean Insights especially with this Gem marking the last gem on Ephesians. Yes that is right, you heard that right – this is the last Gem on Paul's letter to the Ephesians. But your work is not finished. I will tell you tomorrow where we are heading next.
PS: there's more you can get out of the last two verses of Ephesians but I will leave that to you.
Christmas: The time of the year you sit in front of a dead tree and eat candy out of your socks.
WHY JESUS IS BETTER THAN SANTA CLAUS:
Santa lives at the North Pole. JESUS is everywhere.
Santa rides in a sleigh. JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.
Santa comes but once a year. JESUS is our ever present help. Santa fills your stockings with goodies; JESUS supplies all your needs.
Santa comes down your chimney uninvited; JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.
Santa lets you sit on his lap; JESUS lets you rest in His arms.
Santa says "You better not cry"; JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."
Santa may make you chuckle; JESUS gives you joy that is your strength
While Santa puts gifts under your tree; JESUS became our gift and He died on a tree. The cross!
Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, what's your name?" // JESUS knew our name even before we were born. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future. He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.
All Santa can offer is "HO HO HO"; JESUS offers health, help and "hope."