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September 6, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Grace Be with You Today

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

be with you today.”

 1 Thessalonians 5:28, Page 1851

           Grace means that God gives me something good that I do not deserve.  Mercy means that God withholds punishment that I do deserve.  When Paul bids people grace, he uses it as both a opening greeting and also a closing blessing.  The doctrine of grace covers so many wonderful blessings from God that it floods my heart with joy to think about how good and gracious the Lord Jesus is to me every single day.

       In 1 Thessalonians 5:28, page 1551, Paul ends the epistle with those famous words: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”  He calls to mind three separate points in this one verse.

       First, grace provides everything we have from God, because the only thing we truly earn as wages is death, as a result of our sin.  Salvation, and all the blessings we have from God, come through grace, because we never earned them, or deserved them.  When we keep in mind that all of friends in Christ came through grace alone, then we value them all the more.

       Second, the grace comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.  Notice this title for Jesus.  Paul emphasizes here the Lordship of Christ, as the provider of all grace to us.  Jesus is the source of grace, the result of grace, the beginning of grace, the perfection of grace, and so on.  Without Jesus, we have no grace.  With Jesus, we have all grace.  But keep in mind that Paul uses the term Lord to describe Jesus.  Grace never provides a license to sin, but rather the means of obedience to our Lord, Jesus Christ.

       Third, Paul sends the grace to all of us.  So often, I enjoy knowing that in Christ Jesus, we all stand before the same Lord.  He pours His grace upon each believer, and each one of us knows the grace of God.  We live and move in His grace.  We came to know Him by grace alone.  His grace covers each one of us, and Paul closes the letter without playing favorites at Thessalonica, but using words of unity in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

           So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

      ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we stand together as friends in Christ in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when we live in the grace given to us, and encourage one another to live in that grace from the Lord Jesus Christ.   

       ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we forget about grace, and do not do the things that our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to do. 

Application for Today

        Today, I want to remind my friends in Christ to lie in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I want to encourage them to see His grace ever present in our lives, and to see Jesus living with us as friends in grace.  Will you be living in grace, and know it, today?


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