Dive Deeper: Finding Grace and Peace

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d.i.v.e means define, investigate, visualize, and embrace

Maybe like author Jenifer Jernigan – author of Dive Deeper, a study of the book of Ephesians from the Inscribed Studies collection – you are longing to know more about the Lord and want to study His Word, but feel like you don’t know how! Jenifer uses in her study the very helpful d.i.v.e. tools to help you dive deeper into the Word of God and begin to press harder into intimacy with Him.

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Grace and peace. Simple words. Common words. Yet these two words carry a punch that’s often overlooked. Growing up in the atmosphere of the church, I always heard grace defined as “God’s riches at Christ’s expense.” The acrostic captured my attention each time I heard it spoken. These words strung together painted a beautiful picture in my mind of Christ’s death on the cross, but I never really understood the depth of meaning in the five-letter word grace.

When peace was mentioned, it was often partnered with the phrase “that passes all understanding.”

Again, a beautiful phrase; “a peace that passes all understanding” sounded so comforting and gave me warm fuzzies. But I didn’t completely grasp its meaning either. Grace and peace. For me, these were just two more of the “churchy” words I often threw around in conversations. Sadly, I knew nothing of God’s grace, nor had I experienced His peace that, supposedly, passes all understanding.

As Scripture has been translated over time from its original Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament), many of the rich meanings have been lost in our English language. One of the first things God led me to do when He captured my heart and began leading me beyond shallow religion into deeper faith was to dive deeper into His Word and discover the real meanings of the words on my “churchy word” list.

Grace

Grace was one of the first words I needed to understand. Let’s look at the definition of grace from a few sources:

Thayer’s Greek Definitions defines grace as:

1) that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; 2) good will, loving-kindness, favour, of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.

Holman Bible Dictionary defines grace as: an undeserved acceptance and love received from another, especially the characteristic attitude of God in providing salvation for sinners.

Using these as a guide, write your own personalized definition of grace.

Understanding what grace truly means was a pivotal moment for me. Here’s my own personalized definition of grace:

Grace is a beautiful gift from God that I in no way deserve.

God gave me this gift through His Son, Jesus Christ, whom I’ve received as the Lord and Savior of my life. Grace sets me free from the bondage of sin and enables me to live the life God created me to live.

Truly understanding grace opened the door for my being able to live in God’s peace — a peace that does pass all understanding.

Peace

Peace (from Strong’s Concordance) is the Greek word eiréné. Let’s look at the definition of peace from a few other sources:

Thayer’s Greek Definitions defines peace as: 1) a state of national tranquility, exemption from the rage and havoc of war; 2) peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord

Holman Bible Dictionary defines peace as: well-being, restoration, reconciliation with God, and salvation in the fullest sense

Using these as a guide, write your own personalized definition of peace.

Accepting God’s peace and learning to live in the beauty of it changed my life. Here’s my own personalized definition of peace:

God’s peace, a result of His grace, dispels the war within my heart and mind. The chaos in my life that came from trying to live up to the perceptions and expectations of others was driven out as He restored me to Himself, quieting my heart and mind.

Paul very often paired the concepts of grace and peace together in his writings. Remember, he’d once been a persecutor of the church and opposed to all things Christianity. His heart, mind, and soul raged inside him as he tried desperately to follow all the rules. In his pursuit of dotting all the  i’s and crossing all the  t’s, a life of peace was far from his grasp. Paul understood full well that once a person received and accepted the undeserved gift of God’s grace, he or she would also be filled with God’s peace. Paul’s embracing of God’s grace opened the doors to a life of peace with the almighty God.

Read what he said in Titus 2.

We have cause to celebrate because the grace of God has appeared, offering the gift of salvation to all people.

Grace arrives with its own instruction: run away from anything that leads us away from God; abandon the lusts and passions of this world; live life now in this age with awareness and self- control, doing the right thing and keeping yourselves holy. Watch for His return; expect the blessed hope we all will share when our great God and Savior, Jesus the Anointed, appears again. He gave His body for our sakes and will not only break us free from the chains of wickedness, but He will also prepare a community uncorrupted by the world that He would call His own — people who are passionate about doing the right thing. — Titus 2:11–14

Do you see the grace and peace in these verses?

God’s grace: “The grace of God has appeared, offering the gift of salvation to all people.” Jesus Christ is God’s grace in the flesh, appearing to everyone in order to bring them salvation.

God’s peace: “He gave His body for our sakes and will [not only] break us free…” (Titus 2:14). God’s peace is brought about through the redemptive work on the cross. Christ’s death redeemed us, or freed us from the debt we owed because of our sin. His blood paid our ransom and restored us to peaceful fellowship with God.

Grace and peace. You can’t have one without the other. Grace given by God. Peace made possible through the shed blood of Christ on the cross. Both undeserved by fallen humankind. But both poured out abundantly upon us because God desired relationship with the people He created. Grace greater than all our sins. Peace that passes all understanding.

Grace and peace. Far more than just two churchy words on a list, they encompass the beauty of God.

Excerpted with permission from Dive Deeper: Finding Deep Faith Beyond Shallow Religion by Jenifer Jernigan, copyright Jenifer Jernigan.

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Your Turn

What are your personal definitions of God’s grace and His peace? Where would you be without them? Join the conversation by leaving your comments below! We would love to hear your answers about these two churchy words that can get lost in translation! ~ Faith.Full

Dive Deeper

Dive Deeper
Jenifer Jernigan
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Jenifer Jernigan

Jenifer Jernigan is a wife and mom of 3 whose past would spill over into her present if it weren’t for the healing power of God’s Word. As founder of Diving Deeper Ministries, her passion is to equip women to d.i.v.e. deeper into God’s Word, teaching them to study Scriptures for themselves. She is co-owner and regular writer for Internet Café Devotions and is part of a team of writers creating curriculum for Journey Church in Raleigh, NC.

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