Thursday, 14 May 2015
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 1 Corinthians 16:23
As with all of his epistles, Paul adds into his closing salutation a blessing which is a petition for divine favor to be upon his audience. In the Greek, there is a definite article in front of “grace.” Quite often English translations will insert “the” for clarity, but it may not be in the Greek. However, it is here.
“The grace” is different than saying something like, “May grace from the Lord Jesus be with you.” Paul is asking for a divine impartation of this attribute of the Lord to rest upon those in Corinth (and thus us!) and to sustain them in their walk. It must be truly considered that those who are not obedient to the epistle are to be excluded from this petition.
For example, in 1 Corinthians 5 he wrote concerning a disobedient congregant, saying to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” It should be obvious that until this person is willing to adhere to the sound instruction of the epistle, this petition for divine grace is not intended for him.
And yet, at the same time, we all fall short of one precept or another. Therefore, it must be considered that it is for those who earnestly strive for adherence to it, even if they do fall short. Such is the nature of grace; undeserved merit. Paul, in one form or another, closes out every one of his epistles with such a note of request for this divine favor. And even the last words of the Bible are very closely aligned with his words here. There John writes –
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
Life application: The Bible, time and again, asks for an undeserved blessing to be bestowed upon those who pursue it, even if they fall short of what it states. Such is the nature of grace, and such is the nature of our gracious Lord. As you walk along life’s highway, take time to contemplate the wondrous grace which has been lavished upon you. And then thank the Lord and praise the Lord for that same grace.
Lord God, too often I take the many blessings of this life for granted and I even look at Your grace as something I deserve. The beautiful flower that I walk by could have just not been there. The jumping of the porpoise in the ocean happened just as I looked out. The sunset was adorned with ten thousand clouds which captured every color on the painter’s palette. Lord, I suppose that I could go on forever, but you know already… I have been blessed beyond measure and I thank You for it. Hallelujah to my God! Amen.