Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. —Galatians 1: 3
Paul took the Greek greeting charis, "grace," and combined it with the Hebrew greeting shalom or "peace." "Grace and peace." This greeting is used seventeen times in the New Testament, always in this order, "grace and peace." I think that this was by design, because I have discovered in my own life that I didn't know the peace of God until I understood the grace of God.
I grew up being taught that I had to earn God's blessings. If I worked hard or kept my commitments, God would bless me. But if I failed, He wouldn't. I was trying to deserve something that can't be deserved. Grace means "undeserved, unmerited, unearned favor." If we could earn it, then it would no longer be grace—it would be payment.
God's blessings are not dependent on our faithfulness or our hard work but are predicated upon His nature of love.
Now that I have a better understanding of grace, I have learned to expect God to bless me even though I am fully aware I don't deserve it.
Paul tells us that God has manifested His grace towards us through sending His Son who gave Himself for our sins. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53: 6). While we were yet sinners Christ died—not for the good people, not for the righteous people, but for the ungodly.
That is grace.
Thank You, Lord, for the wonderful peace and understanding in which our hearts and minds are kept because of Your grace. In Jesus' name, amen.