“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:3
“Notice that, in all of his epistles, Paul constantly reminds of the grace of God and the love He bears to all believers. He says, Grace be to you and peace. This word peace includes all worldly prosperity. By it Paul is asking God to provide those things which He considers for our good. He will shower His riches upon us and reveal His bounty so that we might praise Him for His goodness.
However, the wealth of this world will be harmful for us unless we have found favor with the Lord. Hence, Paul speaks here in an orderly way, always placing God’s grace and free pardon before an increase in worldly prosperity. Though we may ask God to bless us with those things we need, we must not forget the most important blessing is to be members of His church and assured of God’s love in our hearts.
The light of God’s countenance should suffice us. Although God permits us to ask for good things from His hand, we must keep a tight rein on our desires. God may afflict us with many sorrows, and at such times we need to value His grace above everything else. If we live in comfort, surrounded by all kinds of pleasures and delights, we will still be miserable if we do not have the peace of conscience that comes from knowing that God loves and accepts us.
We should not desire earthly goods more than the love of God. For what if God, who loves us, wishes to test our patience by making us suffer in this world and subjects us to many trials? Even then, we must prize His love above all else and patiently bear all trials, though it seems as if everything is against us.”
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Galatians 2:16
“Since God has loved us and has showered His grace upon us, we are obliged to do our part by forgetting about self and devoting ourselves completely to Him. In other words, the two main factors in our religion are, first, to recognize that God is to be served and glorified; and second, to understand how we can present ourselves to Him and be accepted and acknowledged as His children, owning Him as our Father. Then we can have full assurance of the salvation of our souls.
These words of humble confession define the sacrifice that God requires of us. I speak of humility, not simply the right facial expression but rather being affected in such a way that we willingly accept God’s condemnation and cast away all trust in our works.
In addition, we learn from this text that when God commanded the ceremonial law, He did not intend for us to cling to such external things. He wanted the children of Israel to exercise patience, acknowledging poverty and misery, and rid themselves of all corruptions of the flesh. Indeed, His purpose was to lead them to the Lord Jesus Christ so they would put their trust in Him and lean on Him completely for salvation. Those who sought to keep the ceremonial law as if it were absolutely vital and a sin not to do so were establishing a pattern of worship that was against God’s will and contrary to His intention. Those who did so were therefore false teachers, distorting the real significance of the law. In addition, they were instructing people to exalt themselves and to boast of their own works. That does not bring glory to God, for if we attribute to ourselves even a little merit, we are robbing and spoiling God of what rightfully belongs to Him.”
-From John Calvin 1509-1564