2 John 1:3
Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
"Grace, mercy, and peace" stand related to each other in a very interesting manner. The apostle starts, as it were, from the fountain-head, and slowly traces the course of the blessing down to its lodgment in the heart of man. Grace, referring solely to the Divine attitude and thought; mercy, the manifestation of grace in act, referring to the workings of that great Godhead in its relation to humanity; and peace, which is the issue in the soul of the fluttering down upon it of the mercy which is the activity of the grace. "Grace from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father." These two, blended and yet separate, to either of whom a Christian man has a distinct relation, these two are the sources, equally, of the whole of the grace. The Scriptural idea of grace is love that stoops and that pardons and that communicates. The first thing, then, that strikes me in it, is how it exults in that great thought that there is no reason whatsoever for God's love except God's will. The very foundation and notion of the word "grace" is a free, undeserved, unsolicited, self-prompted, and altogether gratuitous bestowment, a love that is its own reason. God's love is like an artesian well; whensoever you strike up comes, self-impelled, gushing into light because there is such a central store of it beneath everything, the bright and flashing waters. Grace is love that is not drawn out, but that bursts out, self-originated, undeserved. And then let me remind you that there lies in this great word the preaching that God's love, though it be not turned away by, is made tender by our sin. Grace is love extended to a person that might reasonably expect, because he deserves, something very different. Then, if we turn for a moment from that deep fountain to the stream, we get other blessed thoughts. The love, the grace, breaks into mercy. As grace is love which forgives, so mercy is love which pities and helps. God's grace softens itself into mercy, and all His dealings with us men must be on the footing that we are not only sinful, but that we are weak and wretched, and so fit subjects for a compassion which is the strangest paradox of a perfect and Divine heart. The mercy of God is the outcome of His grace. And as is the fountain and the stream, so is the great lake into which it spreads itself when it is received into a human heart. Peace comes, the all-sufficient summing up of everything that God can give, and that men can need, from His loving-kindness and from their needs. The world is too wide to be narrowed to any single aspect of the various discords and disharmonies which trouble men. Peace with God; peace in this anarchic kingdom within me, where conscience and will, hopes and fears, duty and passion, sorrows and joys, cares and confidence, are ever fighting one another; where we are torn asunder by conflicting aims and rival claims, and wherever any part of our nature asserting itself against another leads to intestine warfare and troubles the poor soul. All that is harmonised and quieted down, and made concordant and co-operative to one great end, when the grace and the mercy have flowed silently into our spirits and harmonised aims and desires. There is peace that comes from submission; tranquillity of spirit, which is the crown and reward of obedience; repose, which is the very smile upon the face of faith, and all these things are given unto us along with the grace and mercy of our God. And as the man that possesses this is at peace with God and at peace with himself, so he may bear in his heart that singular blessing of a perfect tranquillity and quiet amidst the distractions of duty, of sorrows, of losses, and of cares. And now one word as to what this great text tells us are the conditions for a Christian man, of preserving, vivid and full, these great gifts, "Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you," or, as the Revised Version more accurately reads, "shall be with us in truth and love." Truth and love are, as it were, the space within which the river flows, if I may so say, the banks of the stream. Or, to get away from the metaphor, these are set forth as being the conditions abiding in which, for our parts, we shall receive this benediction — "In truth and in love." To "abide in the truth" is to keep our selves conscientiously and habitually under the influence of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and of the Christ who is Himself the Truth. They who, keeping in Him, realising His presence, believing His word, founding their thinking about the unseen, about their relations to God, about sin and forgiveness, about righteousness and duty, and about a thousand other things, upon Christ and the revelation that He makes, these are those who shall receive "Grace, mercy, and peace."
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.