2 Thessalonians 3:16-18
Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.
I. THE CLOSING PRAYER FOR PEACE.
1. Only the Lord can give it. Again we have the solemn αὐτός, himself. He is the Lord of peace; it is his: "My peace I give unto you." He only can grant that chiefest blessing. The Thessalonians might have their difficulties, their dangers; they might be weary. But it is the weary and the heavy laden whom the Lord calls to himself. "Come unto me," he says, "and I will give you rest." Only we must take up his yoke, the yoke of obedience; only we must bear his burden, the burden of the cross; and we shall find peace, rest for our souls. For his yoke is easy. It seems not so at first; we are tempted often to be disorderly, to forsake the quiet path of duty; it is hard to resist temptation. But if we come to Christ and learn of him, the blessed Master, he will teach us the grace ant blessedness of obedience, and we shall gradually learn something of his own lesson - to do our Father's will as it is done in heaven, gladly and with cheerful submission. His burden is light. It seems not so at first; the cross is sharp. But he bore the cross once for us; he bears it with us now. When he strengthens us we can do all things; the heavy burden becomes light when we rest on his strength. He is the Lord of peace. Peace is his to give; he will give it to the chosen.
2. He can give it always. At all times and in all ways we need the peace of God. We want it in the Church, in the commonwealth, in the family; we want it all the day and every day. We shall have it if he is with us, for with his presence comes the gift of peace. "The Lord be with you." It is a precious benediction. We listen, we accept it in humble thankfulness. We must strive ourselves to keep ourselves in the love of God, to realize the deep truth of his presence, to draw daily nearer and nearer to him.
II. ST. PAUL'S OWN SALUTATION.
1. His autograph. He writes the concluding words with his own hand. His Epistles were sacred writings; they were the work of an inspired apostle; they had the stamp of Divine authority. St. Paul marks their importance by his closing words. He did not, perhaps he could not, write the whole; he writes his signature at the last. In his own handwriting, perhaps, as some have thought, large and clumsy (comp. Galatians 6:11 in the Greek), but known and loved by his converts, he sends his last word of love; he salutes, he greets them with the embrace of Christian charity.
2. His fast benediction. As always, he ends with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. He had prayed in his first Epistle that it might rest upon them. Now he adds the significant word "all." He had been obliged to blame some of them, to blame them severely; but he will not end his Epistle with words of censure. He prays that grace may be with them all. He loves them all; he longs for the restoration of those who were living disorderly, for the continual progress and sanctification of the whole Church. And so he prays for grace. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ can convert the erring; that same grace can comfort and confirm the faithful. St. Paul closes all his Epistles with a prayer for grace. The grace of God should be always in our thoughts, in our hearts, in our prayers for ourselves and others.
1. Only God can give true and lasting peace; seek it of him; he giveth to all men liberally.
2. We need it always, everywhere; then pray always, everywhere.
3. By grace ye are saved; refer everything to the grace of God; trust only in that grace, not in works of righteousness which we have done. - B.C.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.