To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1:7, ESV).
You may or may not have noticed this, but almost every one of Paul’s epistles in the New Testament contains a similar if not identical phrase. It’s in Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, all the way down the line. And always the same thing: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Peace from God.
If you’ve had a conversion experience, you’ve been given peace with God. As Paul said, “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Only through faith in God do you make your peace with Him—not in being a good person, not in being religious, not in saying your prayers. You recognize you have a sin problem, then you embrace what God has prescribed as the solution.
Peace from God, however, is something different. Notice in Romans 1:7, how the verse starts: “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.” Those are His children who’ve experienced conversion, who’ve been forgiven of their sins—like you have, I hope. If so, you have peace with God. But you also have something more. You have “peace from God.”
It’s the sense of living in covenant relationship with Him. It’s actually the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament concept of shalom. People would greet one another in the streets, “Shalom, Shalom,” wishing them not just peace, but a complete state of wholeness and well-being. “Peace from God” is the realization that you’re living under this awesome covenant with Him that means great things about your life and your future because of His grace toward you.
If God had made a contract with us, we wouldn’t feel this peace. Contracts, you know, are agreements we make that say if we’ll do A-B-C, they’ll do X-Y-Z. We sign our name, and hope it all works out—hope everybody holds up their side of the bargain.
But God hasn’t made a contract with us. He’s made a covenant with us. It’s so much better than a contract. He doesn’t say to us, if we’ll do A-B-C, He’ll do X-Y-Z. He says, since we’re one of His children, since we’re one of those who’ve come into a covenant relationship with Him, He’ll do A-B-C—regardless of what we do.
Do you think you could experience some peace from that? By believing that?
That’s what covenant is. Because of the merits of Christ, because you’ve made peace with God through faith in Jesus, you’ve entered into a covenant relationship with Him where some days you’re going to be more committed than other days. Some days you’re going to be on, and some days you’re going to be off. Some days you’re going to be moving forward, and some days you’re going to be struggling. And yet on every single one of those days, God will be the exact same toward you. Nothing will change His love and His commitment to you.
And that’s peace. From God.
Every time you come across that line again in your Bible—“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”—remember what it means. Remember what He’s done for you and given you.
He’s given you peace.
This post originally appeared on Dr. James MacDonald’s daily devotional Our Journey and was republished with permission.
James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is the founding senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, leads the church-planting ministry of Harvest Bible Fellowship, teaches the practical application of God’s Word on the Walk in the Word radio and television programs, and is a gifted author and speaker. You can find out more about James and his ministries at WalkintheWord.org.