Wednesday, 22 September 2021
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Revelation 22:21
As a note, various manuscripts say –
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.
These are just a few of the variations. Also, the word “Amen” is not included in all manuscripts. With that noted, the Bible ends with these words. Jesus has spoken, and John completes the chapter, book, and canon of Scripture with the words, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Grace is unmerited favor. Grace cannot be earned. Grace is a gift.
Each of these explains God’s giving of Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ. We were set on a path to destruction with no hope of changing that, but God sent Jesus. We could never work our way out of this dilemma, but God sent Jesus. We could never pay our way out of the mess we are in, but God sent Jesus. Our situation was futile, but in the giving of Christ, the grace of God has changed all of that.
And this gift is universally offered. Regardless of the translation (as noted in the differences above), the offering of Jesus Christ is extended to all. The NKJV says, “be with you all.” Others say, “be with all.” Still others, “with all the saints.” The fact is that a saint is simply someone who was once “not” a saint. He heard the gospel, accepted its premise, called out for God’s saving provision, and was saved.
But the grace then extends beyond the salvation. There is the continued grace of God which is the assurance of that salvation. There is the instruction of God found in His word which guides us for sanctification.
There is the hope of glory, there is the fellowship of the saints, there is the joy of release from our debts, and so on. All of this is tied up in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. All of it exists because of what He has done, and none of it would exist without Him. The fulness of the grace of God is found in the giving of Christ to reconcile us to Himself. With that in mind, John completes Scripture with the word “Amen.” So be it. Yes, and may it be so.
Life application: With tears of joy and the eager expectation of the fulfillment of every promise God has spoken to His people, we have arrived at the last verse of His word. At this time, let us return to the first verse of the Bible, the last verse of the Old Testament, and the first verse of the New Testament. By doing so, let each of us call to remembrance in our own minds everything we can which has been given between these verses –
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
“And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:6
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:” Matthew 1:1
The Bible begins under the assumption that God exists, that He is the Creator, and that the heavens and the earth are a part of what He has created and therefore they are both good and have an eternal purpose within His mind.
The Old Testament ends with the promise of a curse unless the people take to heart the warnings and admonitions given to them. A curse is obviously contrary to the original intent of the creation and therefore the warning is given – there is both a hope and the possibility of avoiding the curse.
The New Testament immediately enters into the subject of the Person of Jesus Christ. From then on, He takes center stage. The anticipation of Messiah, through the direction of Yehovah (the Lord) of the Old Testament, culminates in the unveiled and glorious Lord Jesus of the New.
There is no point that He isn’t the center and focus of what is being conveyed because “it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19, 20).
The resounding and continuously noted concept of the grace of God is found throughout the pages of the Bible. From the covering of Adam and Eve after the fall, to Abraham’s declaration of righteousness for taking God at His word, to the choosing of a ruddy young shepherd boy from the hills of Bethlehem to lead the people of Israel – and in countless other stories of normal people who are given what they don’t deserve, simply because of the goodness of God. It is grace that draws these people near to Him.
This concept of God’s grace is then personalized in the New Testament. Jesus is the heart of what God is trying to tell us. If we will only listen. Nothing could be clearer, and yet it is completely missed by far too many. For every person who stands up and tells of God’s grace, there are a dozen behind him telling us that this grace only goes so far and that we need to step in and do something more to earn what is freely offered. How can we escape this trap?
First, we must understand what grace is. It is the unmerited divine assistance given to us for our redemption, justification, sanctification, and eventual glorification. It is a virtue coming from God, externally and without our assistance. It cannot be earned because it is unmerited. This is the heart of the gospel message. What we couldn’t do for ourselves, God did for us through the giving of His Son. To attempt to earn God’s grace through works then is an affront to God because it says to Him that what He has done is insufficient.
Second, once we know what grace is, we simply have to accept it; reach out, grab it, and then not waffle in our belief that what we have received will lead us throughout our lives and even through all eternity.
This is what John conveys one last time as he closes out the book of Revelation and the Bible – “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” In an amazing display of the very concept of grace, we see it in these words. Jesus, our Creator, left it to a man, His beloved apostle, to finalize His word to us.
Imagine the honor bestowed upon John to personally close out the Word of God. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God has allowed him, a mere man, this eternal treasure. And for each of us who comes to know Jesus, we have a similar precious honor – that of telling others of the glorious Lord who came to walk among us, die on a cross for us, and then to resurrect to eternal life that we may, by grace through faith, be called children of God. Thank God for His provision. Thank God for JESUS!
Thank You, Heavenly Father, for the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.