Grace to You and Peace in Philemon

After revealing the authors of Philemon as well as the recipients, Paul goes on to utter his oft-repeated greeting in Philemon 1:3.

Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is a familiar greeting from the apostle Paul. In fact, in each of the thirteen New Testament letters he wrote he starts with some form of this statement.

But there are a few nuances to each “Grace to You” greeting he gives.

In all thirteen greetings, Paul mentions grace and peace. From there, there are some differences.

For example, all that he mentions in 1 Thessalonians 1:1 is grace and peace and he wishes/prays it for you all. But he doesn’t mention from where this grace and peace come.

In Colossians 1:2 Paul says that the grace and peace come from God our Father.

And then in the other eleven greetings he gives, he mentions that this grace and peace are from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

In 1 and 2 Timothy, Paul adds a wish/prayer for mercy for Timothy in addition to grace and peace. And in Titus, he adds that Jesus Christ is our savior.

But in Philemon – in the context – Paul is writing to a man and his household and even his church that he hosts in his home and he wishes that God would add to them what only God can add – real grace and real peace.

Philemon as I’ve argued is likely wealthy. He also has a believing family. What more could he need?

He needs what we all need – more grace and more peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

There’s a saying that comes up around holidays that goes something like “get x-product for the man/woman that has everything.” Do you know what to give to the fellow Christian in this life that seems to have everything? Pray for them along these lines – that God would give them more and more grace and more and more peace.

Money doesn’t give grace and peace. A good home life doesn’t give grace and peace – at least not as much as we need. God uses things in this life to convey grace and peace to us. And yet – it all comes from God. And we need as much of it as he will give.

So, let’s pray this way for each other like Paul and Timothy prayed for Philemon, Apphia, Archippus, and the church in Philemon’s house (“you” is plural, after all).

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