Grace, Mercy, and Peace (1)

  • Grace, Mercy, and Peace. Yes, it's another teaching on the ridiculous, radical, inexhaustible love and grace of God. Now more than ever during these turbulent times we need to shelter ourselves in Him, abiding and trusting Him as the uncovering of the enemy takes place. It is God's work. Our job is to behold Him and enter into His resting place of grace, mercy and peace.

    In the book of 2 John, the beloved one uses these three words in His greeting. As I was looking at the book of 2 John, I noticed it was apparent John knew about Paul’s ministry and had the same revelation. Paul, in his writings, did such a phenomenal job of presenting the revelation of the gospel of the grace of God, that many of the first disciples were influenced by what he wrote. It was such a tremendous revelation of truth that Paul put out a warning that even if an angel should come and preach anything different than what Paul preached, it would be accursed. Just look at this strong declaration made by Paul in Galatians 1:6-9.

    I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into THE GRACE OF CHRIST unto ANOTHER GOSPEL:

    Right there, Paul describes what the gospel is. It’s the grace of Christ. It’s grace. Grace is the gospel Paul preached.

    Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would PERVERT the gospel of Christ.

    Right here Paul is saying “I don’t care what religion tells you. I don’t care what the legalist tells you. I don’t care about the works oriented teaching coming out of the traditions of men churches. I don’t care how often they teach performance and keeping the law as the gospel truth. IT IS NOT ANOTHER GOSPEL – IT’S A PERVERSION. There is only one gospel and it’s the grace of Christ. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. John 1:17 says GRACE AND TRUTH came by Jesus Christ. Jesus is not only truth, but He’s grace. It’s the gospel of grace.

    But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be ACCURSED.

    Here Paul says “now that we’ve got that settled that it’s the gospel of grace and not another”, he puts out a stern warning. Look at verse 8 and see it for yourself.

    As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be ACCURSED.

    Paul was so passionate about the truth of the gospel of grace, and so intent on making certain everyone understood the penalty behind trying to preach another gospel, that he repeats himself immediately. Paul says “Just in case you missed it the first time, let me say it again”. This he does in verse 9.

    Paul was extremely bold in his teaching and proclamation of the wonderful gospel of the grace of Christ. That takes a powerful revelation and a surety that what you’re teaching is absolute Truth. We have that same powerful revelation. Our desire is to teach and preach the good, great, almost too-good-to-be-true message of the wonderful, ridiculous, radical, inexhaustible grace of God stronger than the Apostle Paul.

    An important aspect of teaching this powerful message that makes you free is that you can’t only present it in words, you have to show it in action. How do you act around people who challenge the freedom you have in Christ? Do you allow others their beliefs at this time, no matter if they are in error to the truth? Do you try and cram your beliefs down their throats by talking louder than them and more stern? Remember, “until grace moves you from judgment to compassion, everything you do will seem difficult rather than easy”.

    You can see some of Paul’s influence on the words John wrote in the “little John” books. Those are 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. From Romans to Philemon, the books that are attributed to Paul, all have a phrase similar to “Grace and peace to you” within the first few verses. As I studied this book of 2 John, I noticed that he added the word mercy in his greeting and I wondered what significance that might have. I love studying about the grace of God and His great love for us, so I started to peel back the layers of what John the beloved had written.

    What is grace? We’ve all heard the quick definition that’s always given which is God’s unmerited favor toward you. Well, grace is so much more. Grace is a dominant New Testament theme. Grace is found throughout the entirety of scripture. Old Testament and New Testament, but it is very apparent in the New Testament especially in the Pauline Epistles. Grace is God’s conclusion about you. It’s His divine attitude and thought toward you. Grace is God giving you all that He is. It’s His ability working in and through you. It’s His decision to love you and save you before the foundation of the universe.

    Here’s 2 John in it’s entirety, with commentary added in between the verses. I’ve used the English Standard Version here.

    The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:

    Here the Apostle John, as the elder, is speaking to the elect lady or the church. The children are all of us who love the Lord and are saved. John says he loves not only the church, but the members thereof, but it’s not only him who loves, but also, all those who know the truth. It’s an abiding truth and a forever truth. Without knowing truth, you cannot walk in it.

    Here’s part of that Pauline influence. Paul said in Colossians 2:6 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him”. So, you came to know the Truth/Jesus, now abide in Him by walking in Him.

    Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love. 

    Here’s that same message, similar to Paul’s message, only mercy is added. Like Paul, you’ll notice that grace always comes before peace, because with grace comes peace. Jesus is grace and He’s the prince of peace.

    There is so much revelation behind the written word to be discovered. It’s as if the writer’s that were inspired by the Holy Spirit had all this additional revelation behind each and every sentence. They wanted to expound, but the Holy Spirit told them “just write what I tell you, not all that I have revealed to you”. Then He goes on to say that He will bring the mysteries behind the writings to the one who seeks to discover the deeper truths. Mysteries hidden for us and not from us.

    I can almost hear Holy Spirit reminding the writer’s of the truth surrounding the great grace of God in this manner. “I think we can all agree that Paul had a deep revelation of the gospel of grace, but He understood that it wasn’t because of him or someone else’s teachings. It was by revelation. Remember what he wrote in Gal 1:12 “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ”. “That’s the same way others will find the deeper truths. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in their lives. Then John continues to describe how to walk in truth and love.

    I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father.

    Now right here religion would stop and preach a sermon on obeying the commandments of the Father. The problem would be that they are not rightly dividing the word of truth. They would take this verse out of context and use it to beat up the congregants, telling them to make sure they OBEY the rules and the laws. As we continue, we’ll discover just what that commandment is. Besides, right here John is talking about walking in the truth. That again is what Paul said in Col 2:6. So we should conclude that the Father commanded us to walk in the truth. What’s the truth? The gospel of grace….freedom.

    Stopping here, but don't miss part 2 where we'll pick back up starting with verse 5. Grace and Peace.