Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
–Ephesians 1:2 ESV
“Grace to you and peace…” is on the one hand a salutation, common to most of the Pauline epistles; as a salutation it seems routine … and yet it is also embued with a sacred vitality and action ‘in the moment.’ It is as though the words are alive as they are being spoken, accomplishing actual grace and actual peace in the hearers’ hearts. This is an example of the merging of humanity and divinity that should characterize the life of the Christian, no matter how mundane or routine the moments may seem.
With the phrase “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” the apostle Paul assumes the role of co-benefactor by giving these words of greeting. It is as though by speaking these words, or having these words read to a community of believers, that the hearers actually become recipients of the grace and peace of God. From an honor and shame perspective, Paul assumes the role of benefactor, of blessor, in conjuction with his Father God and with his Lord, Jesus Christ.
The role of Paul as a kind of co-benefactor with God the Father and Jesus Christ is modeled after the way God chose to bless Abraham in Genesis 12:1–3. God blessed Abraham and also told Abraham that he would be a blessing. “…I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (Gen 12:2). Amazingly, the honor is given to man to use God’s Word to bless others. This glorifies God as the source of the blessing, it honors the person using God’s Word to bless others, and it honors those who are willing to receive the blessing as they in turn also pass this blessing in Chirst Jesus on to others. See my note on Genesis 12:1–3 concerning the seven bestowals of honor.