23 “Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.” (Ephesians 6:23–24 (ESV)
The Apostle Paul’s concluding thoughts in his Epistle to the Ephesians place great emphasis on four words. They are not unfamiliar words to the church. They are not unfamiliar words in this epistle or any other of Paul’s epistles. Yet, we may be so familiar with the words peace, love, faith and grace that they do not make the impact upon us as they once did. Hopefully, that will not be the case when we conclude this study today.
Peace be to the brothers. Peace (εἰρήνη; eirene) means tranquility and a freedom from worry. Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life (Gal. 5:22). Peace originates solely from God the Father surpasses all human understanding along with guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:7). Peace is the result of being justified by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone (Romans 1:1-2). It was this peace that Paul was extending to his brothers in Christ.
And love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Love (ἀγάπη; agape) is the self-sacrificial love of the will which is sourced in God alone. It also is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). It is this love which distinctly sets apart the believer in Christ from the world (John 13:34; I John 2:15-17; 4:7-11). Along with being a fruit of the Holy Spirit, agape love is also from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul writes that agape love is to be combined with a sincere faith. Faith (πίστις; pistis) is a trust in, commitment to, dependence upon and the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, the object of the believer’s faith is sourced in the Gospel. It is the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. Grace (χάρις; charis) is the Lord’s unmerited favor to sinners who rightly deserve His justice. However, instead of justice the believer in Christ receives grace and forgiveness. Who received the justice the sinner deserved? The Lord Jesus while on the cross (2 Cor. 5:21). This is the essence of substitutionary atonement.
This wonderful benediction summarizes the major themes of Paul’s letter. The apostle reminds the church, then and now, the importance of peace (v. 15; 1:2; 2:14–15, 17; 4:3), love (1:15; 4:2, 15–16; 5:25, 28, 33), faith (6:16; 1:15; 2:8; 3:12, 17; 4:5, 13) and the grace (2:8) from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. God reminds believers of these truths, lest they be forgotten. May that never be.
Soli deo Gloria!