Sunday, 27 November 2016
Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. Ephesians 6:24
We have arrived at the last of 155 verses of marvel and wonder. The book of Ephesians has been a beautiful presentation of Christ and our expected conduct in Him. Paul has opened up treasures of knowledge never before presented to the human mind. The mysteries have now been made known, and the prospects of eternity in the presence of the Lord, shaped as livings stones in His building, have been revealed. These and many other wonderful truths have been unveiled to us. Now he closes out the epistle with words to those at Ephesus (and thus to us!) which are intended to grant us a special blessing as we pursue Christ, ever going forward in the love and knowledge of Him.
He ends the epistle here as he ends all of his epistles, by penning a request for grace. What is of note is that the epistle to the Hebrews also ends with grace, but none of the letters from James through to Jude state it. However, the Bible finishes with the same note of grace –
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:21
As Paul’s letters are doctrine for the church age, the age of grace, it is appropriate that this expected blessing would be given. However, he qualifies the anticipated bestowal of grace by adding in the thought that it is to be “with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” Anyone can claim to be a follower of Christ, but not all truly are. There are countless people who are under the control of the power of the devil, and who fill and infect churches around the world. His qualifying words are meant to exclude them, and they are certainly given as a reminder to his readers that this is exactly why we are to “put on the whole armor of God.”
We need to be prepared to defend ourselves against such perverse people, and we are also expected to go on the offensive, challenging them concerning the false teachings and cutting apart their heretical words. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, and thus Christ’s spokesperson to us, would have us do no less. Those who are insincere in their hearts towards Christ are not included in the grace He bestows upon those who love Him in sincerity.
Finally, he closes with “Amen.” The word signifies “truth,” or “so be it.” And may it be so in our lives as we seek after, and even pursue, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Life application: As you go back and reread the epistle to the Ephesians in the future, remember that the words which are written are directed to you as well. Hold fast to the promises, be careful to ponder and apply the exhortations, and be pleased to share the wonderful marvels of this word with others – to the glory of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the book of Ephesians. It is a book which is filled with marvels and wonders for us to consider. It is a book which asks us to reflect on the work of Jesus Christ, and it is a book which admonishes us to hold fast to Him and His commands and exhortations for us. Help us to be faithful followers of You by applying the words of that precious book to our lives. And may we be sincere in our love and devotion to Christ Jesus our Lord always. Amen.