Monday, 13 September 2017
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 5:28
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 at certain points, 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 Thessalonica (and thus us!) and to sustain them in their walk. It must be then considered that those who are not obedient to the epistle are to be excluded from this petition.
For example, in a similar petition for grace to be bestowed upon the congregation at Corinth, 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. 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.” Revelation 22:21
Finally, Paul closes the letter with “Amen.” In essence, “So let it be.” Paul has petitioned for grace upon his audience, and he then confirms that petition with assured hopes that it will be so.
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 we take the many blessings of this life for granted and we even look at Your grace as something deserved. Blessings surround us that might otherwise not even be there, such as the beautiful flower on our path. There might be a precious sent of jasmine to fill our senses and bring back a long lost memory. The rising of the moon over the waters may stir our hearts in a unique way as well. Ten thousand daily examples come our way showing us that we are blessed beyond measure. Thank You for Your care of us. Hallelujah to You, our God! Amen.