Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)
These are the closing words from the Apostle Paul to his brothers and sisters in Christ at Ephesus. He gives this beautiful benediction that we are going to look at more closely. Paul has already given Tychicus, as a messenger, to tell them all of the personal details and greetings from the Apostle Paul. Tychicus would share how Paul was being provided for in prison and how much Paul missed all of the people at Ephesus. But, now, in verse 23 and 24 he gives them words of blessing from God.
Peace to the brothers. Where does this peace come from? The end of the verse tells us that it is from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul has been talking about the peace that comes from God, through Jesus Christ, for the last six chapters of this letter. In the first three chapters Paul expounded on how we receive this peace from God. It is by faith, through grace.
Chapters four through six talk about the result of this peace that we have received from God. As a result of having peace with God we now are to have peace one with another. Paul has admonished the Ephesians to make every effort to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3). The practical instructions given in the last three chapters have everything to do with not only receiving peace from God, but living out that peace with our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
Continuing in this verse Paul offers love with faith. Again, that love comes from God, through Jesus Christ. Paul was a man who persecuted Christians. He had a heart full of hate towards those who knew Jesus Christ. Now, he is an ambassador for the love of God. He knew first hand what the love of God was all about, and how it could radically transform a life, especially his.
Peace and Love. These are not just esoteric ideas. These are realities that are available, but only from God through the work of Jesus Christ. Celebrate the peace and love we have received by offering it to others.
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