Lesson 29: The Benediction - Part 1 (series: Lessons on Ephesians)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Commentary on the Book of Ephesians
By: Tom Lowe
Date: 3/7/18

Lesson 29: The Benediction (6:23-24)

(Ephesians 6:23-24, KJV)
23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

We have come to the end of the book. All that remains is the benediction (a pronouncement of blessing from God.). The apostle provides us here with a suggestive benediction, which every minister can employ at the end of his sermon, and one whereby every Christian can be comforted by the mention of peace and grace. It perfectly summarizes the blessings in Christ that the whole letter has expounded.

The letter to the Ephesians was an encyclical letter and the bearer from church to church was Tychicus (See lesson 28). Unlike most of his letters Ephesians gives us no personal information about Paul, except that he was in prison; but Tychicus, as he went from church to church, would tell how Paul was faring and would convey a message of personal encouragement.

The Lesson
23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Paul begins with three suggestions concerning the elements that make-up the benediction (two are in verse 23, and one in verse 24). Most of the great words of the gospel are contained in it; peace, love, faith, grace. Hope is absent, for the believer is in the heavenly places where all is realized. Paul says the benediction should―
I. RECOGNIZE THE DIVINE SOURCE OF ALL BLESSINGS (v. 23)—“From God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul traces the blessings brought to us by the Spirit back to their source in the Son and the Father, and thus brings a gracious closure to all that he has taught us. All our blessings are divine and flow from the inexhaustible fountains of divine grace. “God the Father,” in the paternal counsel’s of His wisdom and love, “and the Lord Jesus Christ,” who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself as an atonement for human sin—the glorious Trinity of Persons in the Godhead—contribute from their combined perfections the spiritual good that enriches every believing soul. The God of Abraham and of Jacob, the God of Christians, is a God of love and of consolation; a God who fills the heart and the soul where He resides. A familiar old hymn satisfies this first suggestion: “Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow.”
II. PRAY FOR SPECIFIC BLESSINGS UPON CHRISTIAN BRETHREN (v. 23)—“Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith.” This is not only the secession of hostilities but the re-establishing in working order of broken relationships. It is shalom, well-being. It comes from being set free from the dark powers that bind and destroy us, from being reconciled to God in Christ, and subsequently working this out in relation to others.

Where there is no love there is no peace, and peace and love without faith are unreliable and worthless. Love is the strength of the patience and self-suppression so essential to the maintenance of peace. As faith grows and intensifies it opens up new channels in which love can flow.

“Peace” was the form of greeting of the Jewish world. A sinner must know the grace of God before he can experience the peace of God. This is the peace of God which passes all understanding.
III. GREET WITH UNRESTRAINED GENEROSITY ALL GENUINE LOVERS OF CHRIST (v. 24).—“Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen”. “Grace” is the keyword of the epistle. It opened the epistle (Ephesians 1:2) and is the subject of the epistle (Ephesians 2:7-8). It now concludes the epistle. It is a fitting word because it is God’s grace which saved us and which sustains us today. Sincere love for Christ opens the heart to the rich endowments of grace and blends all hearts that glow with a kindred affection. If we love Christ, we love one another; we love His work, His word, and are eager to obey Him in all things He commands. We may not agree on standardization of creeds, but we reach a higher union when our hearts are mingled in the reliable receptacle of Christ-like love. The benediction of grace to all who love Jesus is answered and confirmed by an appropriate “Amen.”

Within verse 23 there are three elements of religious comfort—the apostle prays that, with FAITH, there may be PEACE and LOVE.
I. Faith brings the soul into obedience to the gospel by giving effectiveness to its teaching, examples, and doctrines. Where faith operates, love will appear, and peace will follow. Faith means faith in Christ which produces active love. These flow from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
II. Love produces peace.—
a. Inward peace.―It extinguishes malice, envy, hatred, wrath, revenge, every unfriendly passion.
b. Social peace.—Christians will be careful not to give offense, either by real injuries or unnecessary differences. They will be slow to take offense.
III. Love brings religious comfort.—Love is comfortable in its immediate feelings and in its calming influences. It brings comfort to the soul seeing that it is an evidence of godly sincerity. If we would enjoy the comfort, we must maintain the comfort of religion. “Love” in verse 23 means love for the other believers. This is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. In verse 24th the “love” is of the believer for the Lord Jesus Christ.

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