Saturday, 25 June 2016
Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. Galatians 6:18
This final greeting is extremely similar to that of the closing of the book of Philemon. There is a difference though in Paul’s use of the word “brethren” which he adds here. And what is unfortunately ignored by the KJV and the NKJV is the fact that the word is at the end of the greeting, not the beginning. It comes just prior to the word “Amen.”
Placing it there is not without purpose. Instead it is a final note of fellowship to the people who he so cherished and to whom his heart and affections were directed. Despite the temptations of the Judaizers, Paul still considered them brethren and wanted that point highlighted, even at the very last moment of his direct and purposeful epistle.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” is one of the greatest concepts found in the Bible. Man is fallen and man needs grace for his salvation and for his continued walk with the Lord. Paul asks for this marvelous blessing to be bestowed upon the Galatians. In this petition, it is understood that they are undeserving of it. One cannot merit grace. Therefore, the petition is one of hope that this unmerited favor “of the Lord Jesus Christ” will continue to be lavished upon them – sinners already saved by that same grace.
This grace, being unmerited, is especially highlighted here for them to consider their position before God. They have been tempted by those who reject Christ; they have been led astray to deeds of the flesh; they have been called to be circumcised by those who boast in the flesh, etc. Paul is reminding them that they stand by grace and that this grace should be with their “spirit.” The spirit is the highest part of man. It is the aspect of us which is reconnected to God because of grace, not works.
Man spiritually died when Adam disobeyed God; Jesus Christ regenerates our spirit through His work. Faith in that deed, and faith alone, is what brings this about. Paul asks them to consider this and let this grace continue to be that which guides their spirit. And with that said to his “brethren” in Galatia, he closes with “Amen.” So be it!
Life application: If you have come to the book of Galatians, read it, contemplated it, and still think that you should be pursuing works of the law in order to make God happy (or happier) with you, you have a serious issue with understanding grace. You may not be saved at all. One cannot earn grace, but can only receive it by faith and then press on in that grace until His coming again for us. Put away your deeds of the law, stop trying to earn what is free, and stop sneering at God’s offer of peace. Be reconciled to God through the cross of Jesus Christ.
Lord God, we are all on different levels of spiritual understanding, but there is one point which even the youngest child can understand – we cannot earn grace. You have offered us grace, and all we need to do is to reach out our hand and receive it. Help us to never add to what You have done through the grace found in the cross of Jesus. Help us to boast in what He has done, and to put away our deeds of the flesh in a pitiful attempt to please You. We praise You for Christ our Lord. Amen.