“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ… The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Romans 1:7; 16:24)
The Apostle Paul begins his letter to believers in Rome with a marvelous greeting: “Grace to you.” He also closes his letter with a prayer for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to be with them – and us.
Paul dictated all his letters but one to a stenographer. At the close of each of his letters he took the writing instrument from the scribe and in his own hand wrote these words: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”
Paul greets and leaves believers with a wish and a prayer for grace, the dynamic of God that saves us. We can define grace if we turn this five letter word into an acrostic:
“God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”
Grace is not only the way God saves us, God’s grace is the dynamic we desperately need to live for Christ.
In the second verse of Romans 5, Paul writes that God has given us access, by faith, to the grace that makes it possible for us to stand for Christ and live a life that glorifies God. Paul begins this letter and closes all his letters the way he does because he knows it is absolutely critical that we access the grace God has made available to us if we are to live our lives for God in this world.
Since grace is always our greatest need, consider meeting and leaving fellow believers with a wish and a prayer for grace.
Dick Woodward, 24 February 2012