“Grace be with you all. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:25, AV)
When I was in school, we learned how to write a formal letter. We would begin by writing, “Dear Mr.” or some other title and then the letter. At the conclusion we were taught to write, “Sincerely,” and then our name. It seemed quite simple and I guess somewhat meaningful. However, it seemed to become a bit cold and impersonal. The greetings and conclusions of correspondences can become that way since little thought is given to them.
As I have been in the pastorate, I wrote many letters and sent much correspondence to others. At the end of these letters, I have considered many ways in which to conclude my correspondence with something meaningful and heartfelt. The problem is that we can just get into a rut and write something just because it is always the way we do it.
Here, the author of Hebrews concluded his letter to the Jewish Christian community with, “Grace be with you all.” To me it is a truly fitting way to close a letter to believers because it has very deep and meaningful implications.
As we look at the New Testament letters, we see a variety of closings to the writing. Here are a few from the other letters.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (1 Corinthians 16:23–24, AV)
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” (2 Corinthians 13:14, AV)
“Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” (Galatians 6:18, AV)
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Philippians 4:23, AV)
I could go on, but one of the words that we see repeated in each of these closings to the letters is the word “grace.” The authors’ words show that they have a great desire for the grace of God to be manifested in the lives of their letters’ recipients. We understand that the grace of God includes the unmerited blessings of God’s favor bestowed upon believers in Jesus Christ. This grace includes everything that is applied to us through faith. By His grace, He has granted us eternal salvation that begins the moment we first believe. By grace we have a guarantee of a glorious inheritance.
Yet, grace is essential for us to live a victorious Christian life today. It is His presence with us, manifested in us and through us to live a righteous and holy life, to be a blessing to others, and to fulfill the calling He has on each one of us who believe. Apart from His grace we could do nothing. By His grace, He leads us on the right path, provides us everything we need in life. Apart from His grace we would still be in our sin and incapable of doing anything for His glory.
Yes, this simple closing to these letters is a prayer of blessing to the readers. “Grace be with you all.” I can think of no better way to conclude this series of devotionals than to say, “May God’s grace be with you all. Amen.”