Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.Ephesians 1:2 ASV
The linking of the Saviour’s name with that of the Father as the source of grace and peace indicates the apostolic certainty of our Lord’s oneness with deity itself.
Grace and peace … “Grace” with variations was a typical Greek greeting, and “Peace” was a Hebrew greeting.
Paul combined the two, with his own genius for improving both of them and expanding their meanings.
Peace is not merely the tranquillity and equilibrium of a soul in harmony with the Creator, but the word also anchors and symbolizes one of the great value judgments of Christianity, namely, that peace is better than war.
This same greeting is found in all of Paul’s epistles, though the word mercy is added in the Pastorals.
PEACE IS BETTER THAN WAR
So deeply ingrained in the fabric of Western civilization is the basic Christian concept of peace being better than war, that there are many who are seemingly unaware of its origin and of the Christian roots that sustain it.
Whence came the idea that peace is better than war?
That they were able to do such a thing came about through their rejection of the teachings of the Bible.
It is the word of God alone that creates and binds upon people the judgment that peace is better than war.
Such a view is absolutely incompatible with unregenerated humanity.
The first poem ever written glorified the crime of murder (Genesis 4:23); and humanity, apart from the holy Scriptures, has invariably adored and elevated the ruthless mass-murders and spoilers of the human race.
Take the Bible away, and people will automatically revert to pillage, plunder, rape and bloodshed in the same manner as the sow returns to her wallowing in the mire.
It is the light that shines in the Bible that allows people to see the atrocious ugliness of war.
Such a value judgment is implicit in the glorious words of this Pauline salutation.
It is not a denial of this truth which is indicated by the extensive and widespread acceptance of the superior blessings of peace on the part of men, generally, throughout the world; but that acceptance is evidence that the whole civilized world still remains, partially, within the perimeter of Christian influence.
Should that influence continue to be abated and eroded, reversion to the old value judgments will follow.