The Epistle to Philemon: The Grace of the Lord.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” (Philemon 25 ESV)

The Apostle Paul began this epistle with the words “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philemon 3 ESV). It is fitting that he concludes this letter to Philemon in a similar vein.

Grace (χάρις; charis) is God’s unmerited favor. Grace is God giving the sinner what they do not deserve; salvation. It must always be remembered that our justification from God the Father is by sovereign grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone (Rom. 3:21-26; Eph. 2:1-9).

As used here, grace is not just what God brings the repentant sinner at the moment of conversion. Grace is also the Lord’s unmerited kindness towards the believer in Christ throughout their sanctification and growth as disciples for Christ.  

In today’s text, Paul wrote that grace originated from and is solely sourced in the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle was using these identifying titles for Jesus in affirming His deity.

It was Paul’s desire that Philemon know God’s grace in the depths of his soul.  The word spirit (πνεύματος; pneumatos) refers to the mind, emotions and the will of man. In other words, Paul referred to the entire person. However, the word “your” is plural in form. Therefore, Paul wrote this final greeting not only to Philemon but also to the others mentioned in vs. 1-2.

One commentator writes, “These believers were already enjoying the grace that brought them salvation. But here, and in verse 3, Paul was concerned that they be encompassed with God’s enabling grace for their daily walk before others. “Spirit” (cf. “your spirit” in the Gal. 6:18 and 2 Tim. 4:22 benedictions) refers to one’s inner spiritual self. What a gracious way for Paul to conclude this touching intimate epistle.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord. May the Lord’s grace be with your spirit.

Soli deo Gloria!  

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