Today, I was connecting with my sons on Romans 1, in my intent to take them through as much as I can of Paul’s letter before the summer is done. I was reading to them the prologue, bit by bit, and making commentary, when the common salutation hit me.
Grace and peace…
I must have read these words at least a hundred times, and recalled a sermon that was stuck in my spirit from elementary school or middle school, when I was there age. Richard Nussel spoke of χαπις and שׁלום. The introductions and greetings to both Jews and Gentiles.
“here is a marvelous example of Paul’s Christianizing whatever he put his hand to. The traditional greeting in the Hellenistic world was chairein–the infinitive of the verb ‘to rejoice,’ but in salutations meaning simply “Greetings!” (see Acts 15:23, Jas. 1:1). In Paul’s hands this has now become charis (“grace”), to which is added the traditional Jewish greeting shalom (“peace”).
Gordon Fee, The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The First Episitle to the Corinthians: Revised Edition, Eerdmans, 2014, p.31.
Paul’s idea to cover both groups in his writing, given the middle wall of partition was broken down (Ephesians 2:14), and Father has made one out of the two. And now, we will discuss the liberty that happens when we see the two synchronizing together.
PART ONE: GRACE, THE FUEL FOR MISHPAT
Mishpat is the Hebrew word for justice. I don’t have time to build it out, but if you want further details, see Arthur Burk’s Audio Teaching called A Celebration of G-d.
To sum up that well-executed teaching, mishpat is G-d’s ability to execute.
We have been conditioned to think of grace in many places as “unmerited favor”. And while that is a true idea, it is undeveloped. That is one facet of grace.
<cue sarcasm>No joke, I can only handle hearing one truth expressed a single way a few hundred thousand times before it ceases to be as meangingful.
Church, pget beyond the definitions and the frames of the last 50 years, and step into something new. </sarcasm>
Back on track, David. Tell them the rest of what you heard.
Another facet of grace is found in its Greek word, which is also the root of charismata, which is the word translated “gift”.
A gift is something that you receive from the external world. And it is given, not earned, ever.
But in order to receive that gift, we have to unpack it fully, and only once we unpack that gift does it change our external world.
Grace is therefore the enablement for us to execute. It impacts our outside world. Grace affects how we interact with other humans, ecology, creation, the animals, the plants, the sun, the moon, the stars, the humidity (how many of you have cursed the humidity that causes the citrus groves and lush Floridian ecosystem to be and flourish rather than blessing it to be precisely what Father wants it to be. When we fully receive grace for the gift it is, we can impact, with our authority, more effectively, the world that surrounds us. The mishpat of G-d finds its fullness.
Grace, when we recognize it, and accept its unique flavor for the action of the day, provides the foundation for us to partner with G-d in order to create a sustainable system.
We create with G-d because we are in His image. We partner with Him in order to create with Him. That is, we are designed to be co-creators with G-d. In the image of G-d, we were made to be the thing that most resembles Him on this planet and in this universe, and, as a result, we were made to connect with Him in a way that no other created thing ever was.
And THAT whole recognition and the acceptance of THAT celestial reality of grace…
AND THE ALLOCATION of the reality of grace…
and THAT capacity to shift the terrestrial reality based on our King’s known will (on earth just as it is being DONE in heaven)…
…is the gift of G-d that is not by works so that no man can boast.
When we allow grace to flow, we recognize what needs to be shifted thorugh the use of the principles of Scripture and the principles of life, and those things that need to shift will shift.
Grace is the supernatural enablement given by the Holy Trinity that causes us to execute what He wants executed, and to build what He wants us to build. The Kingdom of G-d is a masculine expression, and it is built by sons.
PART TWO: PEACE, THE GROUNDS FOR EXPERIENCING TSEDEQAH
If grace is the external quality that brings the execution of the Kingdom to the earth, then peace is the internal result of the use of grace in the external. Peace, which in the Hebrew refers best to “wholeness” is when we are made whole as a result of recognizing the grace of G-d in our reality and walking in accordance with that grace. Sometimes the grace of G-d is on you to move to Texas for the next five years because Father has a work that needs to be executed. Sometimes the grace of G-d is on you to be a stay-at-home-parent, not because that is what your kids need, but because that is what Father asked you to do it. Sometimes the grace of G-d is for you to send your kids to public school because G-d has some things to teach them that homeschooling or private schooling cannot teach them. And G-d. Never. Wastes. An. Opportunity. Even one that might seem negative or distressing to you, parent who wants to control everything.
Sometimes, where G-d wants you is to allow Him to work. You find the flow of grace, G-d will overabundantly hammer you to the ground with a massive boatload of peace. If you resist the grace, then the peace will flee from you, though.
And when we walk in the mishpat of G-d on the external, we will experience the righteousness of G-d on the inside of us (tsedeqah).
G-d is just looking for people who have hearts to find His flow of grace so that His peace can overshadow them, come hell or high water.
“But now thus says the L-RD,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,”
(Isaiah 43:1–6 ESV)
He will be with us and partner with us, but we must find that grace in order to experience the partnership with Him and in order to be protected by Him. If we refuse the grace (if G-d has given us grace to do A, when we are seeking to confess the grace to do B, we might find ourselves frustrating the grace of G-d).
But if we will take the grace that G-d gives us, then with that grace, will come the wholeness on the inside.
And when the inside world, and the outside world match in us, when there is grace and peace, then the Principle of Liberty (the Sixth of the Seven Principles) will manifest, and instead of walking as servants or mere slaves, we will be walking as sons.
Hunt for the grace gang, and you will find the peace.