Paul is bidding farewell to his readers in our section today. He introduces Tychicus to the Ephesian church and speaks a blessing over them.
This letter hasn’t been one of correction so Paul’s closing is shorter than in some of his other letters. He has been expressing God’s love throughout this letter to his readers. So closing with a blessing of peace, love, faith and grace is very appropriate.
Paul focuses first on the earthly relationship in his final benediction; “Peace be to the brothers” (verse 23a). This didn’t limit the peace he was pronouncing to only earthly relationships but he wanted it to be prominent in their interactions. This theme was woven into the fabric of the letter in practical applications given throughout it. But I’m certain that peace with God was also intended in this closing.
Paul also focused on the foundation of the church’s relationship as brothers; “Love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (verse 23b). Without this love and faith given by God there wouldn’t be a family of God. God first gave us His love before we even knew Him and His promises. Because of that love we were able to see His faithfulness and develop faith in His word. That faith brought us into His Kingdom as His children. And now we are brothers and sisters in Christ.
The last blessing Paul pronounces is “Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible” (verse 24). Those who love Jesus with a true repentant heart receive His grace. Those who don’t, won’t. This is another critical factor for entrance into God’s family. Paul is asking for continued grace too as his readers walk out their Christian faith. We ALL need it on a daily basis.
Paul deeply cared for this group of people and ask God to provide His best for them. He also knew that they cared for him and were interested in his welfare. That is why he wrote to them and sent them his faithful friend. I’m sure this letter and his friend’s answers to their questions went a long way in calming their hearts. Even in chains Paul still found a way to share God’s love with his spiritual children and eventually us.
Father God, thank You for keeping Your word alive and meaningful today; as it was in Paul’s lifetime. Thank You for choosing a faithful servant who was willing to share Your word even in the hardest times of his own life. I can’t say I would be as faithful.
I want that same blessing Paul spoke over his readers to Lord. I need Your peace with my earthly (physical and spiritual) brothers and sisters. I want Your love to rein in our relationships. I need Your grace when I mess up our relationships too. I want to love like You do and I KNOW I can trust You to develop that in me more each day.