by Henry Morris III, D.Min.
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." (Philippians 4:23)
The basic form of today's verse appears 13 times in the New Testament. In Scripture, repetition is not for lack of something to say, but the Holy Spirit's intentional emphasis on something.
God extends His grace to the very creation itself by merely keeping the universe together (2 Peter 3:7), intending thereby to "speak" and supply knowledge (Psalm 19:1-4) sufficient to display His very nature and power in such a way that there can be "no excuse" about His existence and care for humanity (Romans 1:20).
In seven of the 13 times, this "grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" is focused on "you." God's grace is very personal. Everything that He has done is because He loves you and me beyond any grasp of our earthly imagination. No one is beyond the touch of God's grace: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11). "We love him, because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
Once, in contrast, God says some will turn "the grace of our God into lasciviousness" and deny Him who has bought and paid for all the horrible sin that they embraced to spite such grace (Jude 1:4). No wonder the apostle Paul calls such people "abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate" (Titus 1:16).
The Lord twice focuses His grace on our spirits, indicating God's intimate knowledge of our innermost thoughts (Romans 8:26). Paul noted that God's grace is "exceeding abundant with faith and love" (1 Timothy 1:14), and he insisted that His grace is designed to be "glorified in you" (2 Thessalonians 1:12). Like today's verse, most of the prayers for us end in "Amen." And that's the way it should be. HMM III