Grace and Peace for the New Semester

by   |   pjohnson@bju.edu   |  
New Semester Meme

Photo by Hal Cook

Books, supplies, roommates, COFFEE, snacks, syllabi and enough cash for a few weeks. Ready to start a new semester here at BJU? “Bring it on!” we say, heading confidently to class.

Then the teacher hands us her syllabus, assignment sheet and list of due dates, and it’s like the energy is sucked out of us. Stress mounts, and we stagger out of the classroom and crash on the sidewalk. It is then that we all realize that we need more than just material resources and confidence to supply our needs. We need something far greater from God. I want to encourage us to meditate on two resources we have been given and will be given which meet our deepest needs for the coming semester: grace and peace.

Grace

Paul begins most of his Epistles with some form of a simple greeting: “Grace to you, and peace” (Eph. 1:2; cf. Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:3; 2 Cor. 1:2; etc.). What does he mean by greeting us with the words “grace and peace,” and how can that affect our outlook on a new semester?

Bryan Chapell defines grace as “the compassionate and prevailing power of God on behalf of His people,” while D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones described grace as God’s “beneficent kindness and condescending love.” God looks on our weaknesses, our circumstances, our stresses and pressures, and He responds with compassionate, loving, undeserved grace. This grace empowers us and enables us to meet the circumstances of life with dependent, diligent determination. What a blessing this is in the face of a daunting semester!

Peace

The greeting goes on. Because of the grace we are given, we can be at peace every moment of our lives. Peace is the resulting experience of the believer that understands that everything is right and as it should be under the sovereign, good and gracious hand of our loving Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. We are at peace with God, and we have peace in the middle of the storms of everyday student life.

Grace and peace—it is what we have been given by our Father through our Savior. It is also what we need in every challenge, in every circumstance, in every opposition and in every opportunity. May God grant us all the grace and peace that will enable us to glorify Him in this new semester!

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Dr. Pearson Johnson is the director of Student Care and Discipleship as well as a faculty member in the School of Religion.