Bible Benedictions: Part 2
‘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. This article will present additional New Testament benedictions and interpret them.
Now to Him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen (Romans 16:25-27).
Is Paul arrogant here, or what? Is he bragging about ‘his gospel?’ Is this not God’s gospel? The key to understanding this benediction is ‘the revelation of the mystery,’ which follows ‘my gospel.’ God revealed a new gospel (good news) to Paul, instructing him to take it far from Israel to the rest of the world. God had previously instructed Peter and the twelve apostles to take the Gospel of the Kingdom to Jerusalem, Samaria, then to the remote parts of the earth (Acts 1: 8). Jesus had previously taught His disciples about the coming earthly Kingdom during His three year ministry. He even sent them out to preach about it (Matt. 10: 5-7). The Old Testament prophets had repeatedly predicted the earthly Kingdom in their writings. This was the gospel for a persecuted nation, Israel. The kingdom is coming and the Messiah (Christ) will rule over the entire world. The center of His Kingdom was prophesied as Mount Zion. He will reign with ‘a rod of iron.’ He will eliminate sin, sickness and suffering from the world. This is still the gospel for the Jews.
God revealed a secret gospel to Paul—the Gospel of grace. God kept it a mystery until after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. If He had not kept this secret, Satan would have known God’s plan for his defeat. God revealed His secret after the victory He accomplished at the cross. Furthermore, it was necessary that Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah so God could offer the Gospel of grace to the world. Israel completed their rejection after the resurrection of Jesus. The Holy Spirit empowered the apostles to present the Kingdom Gospel once again to Israel. The leadership of Israel repeatedly rejected this good news. The stoning of Stephen represented their final rejection. Stephen saw Jesus standing in judgment at the right hand of God’s throne in heaven as he was stoned. (Acts 7: 55-58).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
This benediction incorporates both God the Father and God the Son. It extols God as the Father of all mercies and the God of all comfort. Indeed, without God the Son there is no mercy—only judgment. Without God, there is no comfort, only eternal suffering. God provided His Son as the sacrifice for sin, so He can bestow abundant mercy and comfort upon His chosen. Through God’s mercy, we can reach out and comfort others in their suffering. Oftentimes, God touches His children in times of suffering.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).
God abounds in grace and He unselfishly lavishes it upon His children so they can spread it to others in need. The context of this verse speaks of providing money, food, and material items to those who have great needs. It is a very timely exhortation for believers today. The current suffering among believers is immense, but the selfishness in the Church is often even greater—a sad testimony to the current state of affairs among Christians in Western civilization.
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).
What a wonderful benediction, emphasizing the unity and work of the Trinity. Three distinct persons of the Godhead, united as One. This is a great mystery, yet a crucial foundation of the Christian faith. This verse testifies that perfect grace, never-ending love and the oneness of fellowship emanate from the Godhead and permeate the Body of Christ in this world. What a glorious God we worship!
Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21).
God exceeds the limits of our prayers and thoughts. He is omniscient and all-powerful. He can spin off stars and create constellations with a Word from His mouth. He powers a trillion connections in the brain of every human on this planet. He knows our path before we take the first step. He deserves all glory and the church should manifest Christ’s glory to the world. Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone of the house of God over the course of time and history. He is the Light and the Glory in every room in His house. (Eph 3:19-22).
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 6:24).
Once again, ‘peace’ speaks of our relationship with God. One is at peace with God if he has embraced His Son, Jesus, as the payment for sins and Lord of his life. This peace is beyond one’s comprehension and its benefits cannot be numbered. It takes one through the lowest valleys of life. God’s peace, shalom, guards one’s mind during the scariest moments Satan can conjure.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
Imagine being able to draw from a pot of gold that never runs dry! That is the reserve God has for each one of His children. But He is careful not to spill it upon our wants and desires. That would make us more selfish and less dependent on Him. He knows the right moments to portion out His riches. He supplies each of our needs with His overflowing riches in Christ Jesus.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
God has gifted us with an eternal relationship of peace with Him through Christ Jesus. He has given us His Holy Spirit as a ‘Helper’ to aid our journey though this world. He guides us around the pitfalls that pull us into sin. He transforms our thoughts to revolve around Jesus. He empowers us to live free from sin. The key is submission. The Holy Spirit must be the driver and navigator of the course. Then we will be ready to embrace Jesus at His coming.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word (2 Thessalonians 2:16,17).
Have you ever noticed that submitting to God’s will and pursuing good works for Him, strengthens our resolve and generates spiritual confidence? Embracing each godly work builds godly character and weaves an unshakable testimony that glorifies His name. This is possible only if He is powering the engine. The Holy Spirit fills the fuel tank when our thoughts dwell upon God’s great love and the multitude of eternal comforts He has provided.
Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!
(2 Thessalonians 3:16).
Once again, only God’s peace enables one to navigate the world’s most turbulent seas. The God of peace calms the stormy waves.