For many years this writer, along with the mass of religious people, supposed that the Bible phrase “grace and peace be unto you” was simply a beautiful, spiritual salutation. Thank God we have come to learn that it is much more than a salutation. It is an official proclamation.
Every single one of the epistles signed by St. Paul opens with the declaration: “Grace be unto you and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” This was the theme of the message which he, as a duly appointed ambassador, had been sent to proclaim.
To appreciate this fully we must remember that God had declared in prophecy that He would reply to the world’s rejection of Christ with judgment. Psa. 110:1 pictures the Father saying to the Son: “Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” Psa. 2:5 declares: “Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure.”
After the crucifixion and ascension of Christ it seemed that all was ready for the judgment to fall. As the signs of Pentecost appeared Peter declared: “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:16) and it did indeed look as if the rejected Lord was about to return to “judge and make war,” as Rev. 19:11 puts it. But now, instead of judgment and war, St. Paul proclaims grace and peace. Does this not indicate that in grace God interrupted the prophetic program to bring in the present dispensation under which God’s ambassadors proclaim with Paul:
“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned… so might grace reign” (Rom. 5:20,21).
Indeed, Paul the former persecutor was himself the living demonstration of God’s grace to a Christ-rejecting world. In I Tim. 1:15,16 he declares:
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.” source