Wednesday, 14 June 2017
This salutation by my own hand—Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen. Colossians 4:18
This is the final verse of Colossians. The book has spanned four chapters totaling 95 verses. To close out this masterpiece of wisdom and instruction, Paul begins with, “This salutation by my own hand – Paul.” The letter was probably written by an amanuensis (one who takes dictation), but then Paul signed the letter to confirm that it was from him. This is the standard with most of his epistles. His handwriting was very distinct, having large letters (Galatians 6:11).
In closing, and concerning himself, he says, “Remember my chains.” Numerous times in his letters, he refers to his bondage and chains, even in verse 4:3 of this letter. It is probably for a twofold reason. The first obvious reason is that he desired their prayers, and he wished that they would have sympathy for him and empathize with him. The second reason is because his bondage was to remind them of his love for them. He, a Jew, was imprisoned for the sake of the Gentiles. Thus it was for their sake and for the glory of Christ. There was nothing shameful in his chains. Instead, it was the Lord’s will that he should be where he was. These ideas are to be inferred from a similar sentiment found in Hebrews 13:3 –
“Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.”
Paul finishes his personal greeting with, “Grace be with you. Amen.” In Greek, it literally states, “the grace,” and thus he is speaking of “the grace of Jesus Christ” specifically. This is a condensed form of that sentiment which is unique to this letter and the two letters to Timothy. Most other epistles give a fuller form of the thought. Paul desires them (and thus us!) to have and live in the grace of Jesus Christ. He then closes with “Amen,” or “So be it.”
Life application: Having read and studied the book of Colossians, you are now admonished to continue reading it, along with the rest of Scripture, every day of your lives. Pursue the Lord, cherish His word, and be ready to share both with others at all times. Always be prepared!
Lord God, how can we be prepared to share Your word with others if we don’t know it? Give us the wisdom to pick it up, read it, and contemplate it daily. Open our eyes to its truths, and give us the ability to then share it with others. Help us to be bold about proclaiming it, and help us to stand fast on its truth. Even while the world heads in the opposite direction, may we hold fast to the truth of Jesus Christ – the Author and Subject of this most marvelous gift. Amen.