The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen Philippians 4:23
This final greeting is similar to that of many of his other closing statements. “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 stupendous blessing to be bestowed upon those in Philippi (and thus us!). 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 our 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. As with other churches addressed in his epistles, they have been tempted by those who reject Christ; they have been led astray to deeds of the flesh; etc. Paul is reminding them that they stand by grace and that this grace should be with them all. Some Greek manuscripts instead say “…with your spirit.” Which is correct is debated. Either way, 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, he closes with “Amen.” So be it!
Life application: If you have come to the book of Philippians, 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; or if you believe that you can live a life of licentiousness because you are “already saved” and so it doesn’t matter, you have a serious issue with understanding grace. You may not be saved at all. One cannot earn grace, and considering grace as a license to sin is perverse. Put away such things, 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 grasp – we cannot earn grace. You have offered it to us, 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. May we boast in what He has done, and put away our deeds of the flesh in our pitiful attempt to please You. And also, O God, may we never use the grace You have granted us as license to sin. Instead, may we live holy lives, dedicated to You. We praise You for Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.