Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Paul is not ashamed of the gospel. Sure, he is writing to a group of Christians and you might expect talk like this, but somehow I think that this is how Paul would talk regardless of the audience.
Grace to you, and peace...don't those two go together just like popcorn and butter? Like steak and potatoes? Like copy and paste? Can there really be peace without the promise of grace? And just look how grace permeated Paul's life. Paul gave up an entire lifestyle because of the grace of God. He turned from a man on a fast-track to power and prestige and became a man who joyfully endured suffering like it was the frosting on a cupcake, the really good, creamy kind, with sprinkles.
That is what the gospel does, if you get it right. It ruins you for the stuff that you used to think that you could not live without. Paul was a realist. He looked at the age he was living in and saw it for what it is, a present evil age. I don't think he was comparing it to any other age on earth, as many people are prone to do (although perhaps he easily could have). I think he just realized that any age on this earth is an evil age, because sin reigns. And God has through Christ redeemed us from this age, and that is something that Paul completely grasped.
All of this, Paul's gift of apostleship and his radical life-change make his message compelling, one that is at least worthy of an audience. At least it does for me.