Precious Gifts

Thought For The Week 361

Around the world and all across Israel, Jewish people traditionally greet each other with a single word, ‘shalom’, which means ‘peace’.  The greeting has been used and passed down over the centuries. I’ve always been fascinated that Paul, when writing his letters to the churches, expanded it to ‘grace and peace to you’.  Invariably he added, ‘from Yahweh the Father and Yahshua the Messiah’.  Paul was delighted with grace, thrilled by its bounteous blessing.  Can we grasp it as Israel would have?  Previously, whenever they sinned, they had been required to make [and pay for!] their own sacrifices.  After Yahshua’s incredible, personal sacrifice, and because of His amazing grace, ultimate payment had been made and forgiveness was freely available.  No wonder Paul could exclaim so joyously, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of [Yahweh]” [Ephesians 2:8]. 

The extent of Yahshua’s grace was demonstrated when He allowed the soldiers to spit in His face, tear out His beard, scourge, mock, and deride Him, despite knowing He could wither them with a glance. They couldn’t have done it “unless [Messiah] had been willing, out of mighty love, to suffer in this way…” [Spurgeon].  The magnitude of Yahweh’s love was revealed when He didn’t rescue His beloved Son from the wickedness and horror that was Calvary, but allowed it for our redemption

As he was concluding his second letter to the Corinthian church, Paul wrote, “May the grace of [Yahshua the Messiah], and the love of [Yahweh], and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” [2 Corinthians 13:14].  A beautiful blessing frequently used at the end of services.  Some believers quote it in unison, sincerely and warmly sharing it with each other.  But do we realise how very precious and priceless these gifts are? Let’s pause and ponder a while.  On their own ‘grace’, ‘love’ and ‘fellowship’ are poignant words, but in the blessing each one is qualified; Yahshua’s grace, Yahweh’s love, the Holy Spirit’s fellowship!  They are truly awesome gifts!  May you be enriched with a fresh appreciation of them today.

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