Bible Benedictions—Part 3
‘Bene’ means good. ‘Diction’ means pronouncement. Benediction means pronouncement of good. A Biblical benediction extols the wonderful deeds God performs for His children. God blesses His people. He personally reaches down and touches lives. The final installment on this topic will present most remaining New Testament benedictions and explain them.
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord (1 Tim. 1:2).
We all deserve God’s judgment and punishment because we are all sinners. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus…” (Rom 3: 23-24). His love for us tips the scales towards His mercy, but we must accept the gift of His Son, as payment for our sins.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen
(I Timothy 1:17).
God is omnipotent—all-powerful, omniscient—all knowing, and omnipresent—everywhere present and connected. There is nothing that escapes His gaze and nothing that is beyond His ability. He is King in all things and reigns over all created beings. By His sovereign will, He has allowed Satan to run the show in this world for a short season. This enables God to draw as many believers into His presence as He desires. One day—soon—He will ‘flip the switch’ and take the reigns of control from His adversary. He will choose the time and the season. He has the victory. All glory and honor belongs to Him forever and ever!
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen (2 Tim. 4:18).
The Apostle Paul penned these words shortly before he was martyred via decapitation. Paul was a valiant warrior for the faith, but he was not perfect. It was a great comfort for him to know the Lord would rescue him from every evil deed (but not the axe of the executioner) and bring him safely into God’s heavenly kingdom. Each evil deed is more ominous and foreboding than the axe of the executioner, because it brings eternal torment. Paul had absolute assurance of his imminent rescue and deliverance into God’s kingdom at the feet of Jesus—the One who rescues and delivers every believer. With the weight of each evil deed flattening the scale towards God’s judgment and eternal punishment, it is a great comfort to know with confidence God will also deliver us safely into His heavenly kingdom through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, Who gave His life as payment for each of our evil deeds.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20-21).
The theme of the Shepherd and His sheep is pictured many times in Scripture—especially in the Old Testament. Perhaps Psalm 23, written by King David, is the best-known example.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23: 1-4).
But there are many other Scriptures, which build a composite picture of our relationship with God and His love for us. The Shepherd is often a synonymous term for Messiah in the Old Testament. Jesus applied this picture to Himself one day in the Temple during the feast of Hanukkah.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one (John 10: 27-29).
What a wonderful comfort! No one can pluck a sheep from His grasp. Jesus controls the eternal relationship with His followers. No one—not even ourselves—can pry loose from His grasp. This, of course, depends upon our following Him as the great Shepherd. An act of faith begins this journey. Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1: 29). His blood seals the ‘New Covenant,’ an ‘eternal covenant,’ between God and every believer. The blood of the Lamb opens the path to the Great Shepherd.
Peter, John, and Jude each wrote benedictions that grace the pages of New Testament Scripture. We will present several of these now.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time
(1 Peter 1:3–5).
What is living hope? No less than four New Testament authors write of this living hope, so it must be quite important. Indeed, it is! The author of Hebrews explains the hope God has set before us is an ‘anchor of the soul….sure and steadfast.’ This hope is certain and unchangeable – made possible only through the sacrifice Jesus made for all sinners as an eternal high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. (Heb.6: 17-19). Jesus laid down his unblemished, sinless body and poured out His precious blood on Calvary’s cross to make real and certain the ‘blessed hope’ God has given to each of His children. This hope is not wishful thinking, like the hope the world offers. The world’s hope is elusive and seldom realized. The hope God provides is certain. One can take it to the bank. It will come to pass. Nothing a believer does can void that hope. But it is a promise that can only be apprehended when a believer leaves this world and walks through the veil into eternal life. He then obtains his glorified body and inheritance. It takes faith to make this hope real in a believer’s present life – because he has not yet apprehended it. Peter explains this living hope is obtained when one is ‘born again’ – saved through faith in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter describes hope as an imperishable inheritance to be obtained in the ‘last time.’ This refers to the end of our earthly life – at Jesus’ coming to redeem His children from this wicked world. A believer grasps this hope by faith, and the process enables the seed of righteousness to sprout and grow into a living picture of the Redeemer of mankind for all the world to see. This process of sanctification is perfected at the appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ. A new body, unblemished by the sin of this world, coupled with an eternal inheritance will then be realized in the fullness God has planned for every believer. What a glorious ‘living hope’ to ponder and fix one’s faith upon!
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen
(I Peter 5:10-11).
God is the source ‘of all grace.’ There is no grace apart from Him. We have previously defined grace as God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. It is His riches to lavish upon whom He chooses. This benediction promises He will call us into His eternal glory after we ‘have suffered a while.’ That’s right. Life in this world is not meant to be a garden of roses for a believer. Prosperity is designated for the afterlife. We have a work to do in this life, and at least part of that work is to suffer for Him. Suffering accomplishes several things in a believer’s life. It develops character and godly maturity, which is good for this present life and it prepares one for eternal life also. Suffering lays bare the godly witness of a believer to the unsaved. It is a grand testimony expanding the reach of the Body of Christ to the world. God uses the suffering of His children to His advantage. Numerous Scriptures support this and we should heed their instruction, in spite of the fact that suffering is not an enticing thought to entertain.
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ; if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Rom 8: 16-18).
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…(1 Pet 2: 21)
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s affliction. (Col. 1: 24).
…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead (Phil 3: 10-11).
Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me, His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God…(2Tim 1: 8).
Grace and peace be yours in abundance, through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (2 Pet. 1:2)
We have developed at some length the concepts of grace and peace in these articles. This benediction adds another pearl to our understanding. Knowledge is crucial in obtaining the abundance of grace and peace that God provides. Knowledge comes only through reading and studying God’s Word. It does not come easily. It takes work. Almost every believer has at least one copy of God’s Word. It is there to read and study. An abundance of God’s grace and peace will follow this effort.
- Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen (Jude 1: 24-25).
The half-brother of Jesus, Jude, wrote this wonderful benediction to complete his short letter. It is also considered a great Bible doxology, proclaiming the glory, majesty, and power of our great God. But here, we will consider it as a benediction—a proclamation of blessing to believers. The blessing noted is that God is able to keep us from stumbling in this life. His power must be coupled with a measure of faith. He will also present each believer blameless before His glory with great joy. God takes great pleasure in presenting each of children blameless before Him. He made a tremendous sacrifice to accomplish this, but He revels in the opportunity to bring it to fruition.
Grace and peace to you from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first born from the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:4-5).
Once again, grace and peace are blessings that flow in abundance from God. But this benediction also emphasizes the eternality of God the Son. He is (present), was (past) and is to come (future). He is ever-present and ever-lasting. He is the first fruits of all who will resurrect from the dead (1Cor 15: 20). He is the King of Kings and wields absolute authority that cannot be challenged.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen (Revelation 22:21).