If God the Father is the one who raised Jesus from the dead, we might wonder if he's the one who put him there in the first place. Was Jesus in on the plan?
Galatians 1:4 seems to indicate that the early church believed that he was. Christ is described as "tou (who) dontos (gave, offered up) eauton (himself)." Maybe this was a self-sacrifice. Maybe it was a stepping up as champion. Either way, Jesus the giver of grace and peace, tou dontos eauton uper (for the sake of) tou (these) amartion (sins, wanderings) emon (that belong to us).
Was Jesus in on the plan? Well, Paul calls him Kuriou Iesou Christou tou dontos eauton uper tou amartion emon (The Lord Jesus Christ who gave himself up for the sake of these sins that belong to us).
What a great way to be known!
For some folks, I'm Steve that guy who works for GCF. For others, I'm that white guy who lives in the black neighborhood of BV, but isn't Mormon. How great would it be to be known as someone who gave himself, fully, for the sake of someone else?
I'd love to be known as someone who poured out his life for his wife, as someone who gave all that he had to the privilege of parenting his son, as someone who used all that he had to bless God's church.
I wonder if Paul's willingness to wish "grace and peace" to people who exasperated him isn't connected with his understanding of Christ's identity as the One who gave himself up. If the God Paul loves is the God who gave himself up so that others (even annoying others) could experience grace and peace, Paul should wish them to receive what's on offer.
Can you imagine if Paul refused to wish "grace and peace"? Would he be able to long maintain the image of Jesus as the one who gave himself up for the sins we carried around with us? Would he struggle to see Jesus as he really is, full of grace and truth?
I think these things (being the sort of person who wishes "grace and peace" and being the sort of person who sees Jesus as our rescuer) go hand in hand. You can't long sustain one without the other.
Let's hope that we and those around us get to experience grace and peace.
Let's hope that we and those around us get to see Jesus as our rescuer.