Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 1
When we send a friendly greeting to someone, we often express our desires for that person’s happiness. For example, it may seem nice to wish someone health and wealth. However, there are problems. Firstly, to have health and wealth can only benefit a person in their life in this world. They cannot benefit a person’s spirit, or their relationship with God. Health and wealth in this life cannot take a person to heaven, so they cannot give anyone real happiness. Secondly, we have no power actually to provide these things – it is merely a wish, without any effect whatever.
Paul’s greeting, however, did have power. He wrote with the authority that God himself had given to him. In that authority, he declared that God would provide his grace and his peace to his people. As the gift of that grace and peace comes from God, and not from any person, it cannot fail.
Grace is like wealth for a person’s spirit (Ephesians 2:7). It means God’s great kindness. It is only by that kindness that we can start to have a right relationship with God (Ephesians 2:8). Only by that kindness can we continue to live in the way that pleases God (Romans 5:2). By that grace, God works through his people to show his kindness to other people (1 Corinthians 15:10).
Peace is like health for a person’s spirit (Philippians 4:7; Romans 8:6). By ‘peace’ here, we do not mean freedom from war; rather, we mean a right relationship with God (Romans 5:1). That kind of peace causes us to be calm and content, even when our lives are very difficult (4:11-13). It also brings us into right relationships with other people who trust in Christ (Ephesians 2:11-14).
Next part: Partners in the work of God (Philippians 1:3-5)
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© 2020, Keith Simons.