“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” — Blessing, Philippians 4:23
The New Testament writers of letters followed a tradition of Greek literature by ending each letter with a phrase of blessing. These benedictions were intended to serve a purpose similar to that of the best friend who ends a letter with the words, “In deepest friendship.” In some ways, it may seem like a simple gesture of politeness. But actually, these words of closing the letters from the Apostles meant a very great deal to those reading these letters.
The Essence of God’s Grace
Some of the words of blessing were longer than others. In closing the letter to the Christians gathered at Philippi, the Apostle Paul chose to use what at first may appear as a quite simple phrase. However, upon closer examination, we can see how profound these words really are.
Notice what Paul wrote, as recorded in Philippians 4:23:
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Here, Paul is asking God to grant to these new and struggling Christians the very essence of His grace, expressed through the death and resurrection of His one and only Son, Jesus. And, Paul is asking for this blessing to fall upon the innermost being of these new Christians.
As we begin a new day, let’s take these words of Paul and accept them in our own lives. Let us receive the blessing of Christ’s grace in the very depth of our own spirits. And, let’s allow His grace to enable us to will and to do of His good pleasure, as we faithfully serve as His ambassadors.
Dean K. Wilson is a member of the Class of ’68, and the author of the blog Suppressing the Fire.
Highlander Devotionals are contributed by members of the broader Houghton community, including our worldwide alumni family. These reflections are a testament to the continued, transforming work of Jesus Christ in the lives of alumni and others who have called Houghton “home.”