Day 4 | Grace and Peace Written by Jason Malone There are so many differences among us, but there is a common unity in Jesus Christ. Many of us have become discouraged, in particular, at the realization that the one thing that unites us, Jesus, has seemingly taken a back seat to the hundreds of differences. It’s not even that differences are wrong; it’s just that we often put them in the wrong place of importance, and at times we don’t examine our hearts, attitude, and mindset underneath our differences. And when that happens, we don’t look around and see what we have in common in Jesus Christ as brothers and sisters in Christ—we primarily see the differences. And in the midst of the Church that should have Jesus in the center in his rightful place has grown preferred differences in the center with Jesus tacked on to make your differences seem better than other people's differences, and underneath the difference is an attitude of I’m right, and you are wrong. And if I’m right, then I’m better. And if I’m better, then obviously, God’s with me and my preferred difference. Differences aren’t wrong, but if underneath the difference is pride, selfishness, self-righteousness… God loves me and my differences more… then we’re not extending the grace available to us through Jesus to others, and when we aren’t extending grace, we won’t fully experience the peace that is ours as a Church through Jesus.READ Ephesians 2:11-22Every time Paul took out his pen to write a letter, he either began or ended that letter with some form of that statement…Grace and Peace. I think Paul knew that grace comes before peace because an unhindered relationship or a peaceful relationship depends upon and thrives upon grace—unmerited favor.Paul wants to remind them of God’s miraculous intervention that has given the Jew and Gentile alike a new nationhood. They are God’s people. He has given them a new bloodline, the bloodline of Jesus, thus making them one new family. He has made them a new building—indeed more, a temple in which God himself lives! He has killed the hostility. By the blood of Jesus, there is no more “I’m better than you.” Grace not only connects us to Christ, which we saw last week in the first ten verses of chapter 2, but grace also connects us to one another. Grace & Peace. And this grace and peace was so costly.