The Power of Greetings
On Game Day in Tuscaloosa the greeting is “Roll Tide.” When Clemson takes the field against the Georgie Tech Yellow Jackets, their fans will greet one another with “Go Tigers.” There’s power in greetings. Football fans use them to challenge their team to victory, and the Apostle Paul even used greetings as he closed the introduction to his New Testament letters to remind us of the true basis of our hope and certain victory.
In the first century, Greeks greeted one another with a simple charein—"hail, greeting,” and Jews simply said, “Shalom” as they still do in Israel today to say hello and goodbye. The Apostle Paul kept the Jewish greeting of his Hebrew heritage but altered the charein from his Greek culture to charis—“grace.” He puts “grace” before “peace” and then checkout where he stresses we receive both.
“Grace to you and peace from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
According to Paul the source of grace and peace is God the Father and his Son, the Lord, the Savior, the Anointed Messiah. Already in the early 60s, less than forty years after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, believers had no problem uniting Jesus as one with his Father and recognizing him as divine.
Paul’s greeting also reminds us that we can only have peace with God through the unmerited gift of forgiveness because of what his Son did for us. Paul is about to challenge Philemon to show grace to his slave who wronged him and accept him as a brother, so he begins with the reminder of God’s grace and peace flowing from intimate union with Jesus.
LORD, if Alabama and Clemson fans can use greetings to remind them of past victories and to anticipate future ones, help us to greet one another as believers with the affirmation that true peace and victory is rooted in grace alone.
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