Grace Be With You

2 Timothy 4:18-22

King James Version

18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

19 Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.

20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

21 Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.

22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.

Paul had confidence in God.  He had no doubt, and had endless hope, that God would deliver him from the Roman confinement he was in.  I have heard that Paul didn’t really have it that bad.  He was actually in a house and people could come and go.  He ministered the Gospel to the soldiers who kept guard of him and many became his friends and knew there was something special about this man that was condemned to death.  I can just hear Paul telling them about grace, making them try and understand this concept that is so unique to the Christian faith.  Caesar was God to them.  He ruled with an iron fist and any who dared oppose him would be put to death, or worse, thrown to the lions.  But Paul talked of a God who loved His servants.  A God who actually called us His friends.  A God who had mercy, whatever that was, and bestowed grace, blessings, riches, into our lives.  What kind of God is this?

I’m sure the Roman soldiers heard about his experience on the road to Damascus. How he had been on the way to persecute believers in this God, and even put some to death.

How he was knocked off his horse and saw a great light.  Hos God spoke to him and then blinded him.  How he came to the house of Ananias and the scales left his eyes.  How now he could see and understand the truth of who Jesus was, and still is.  I’m sure Paul told them that story.  I’m sure he told them about Jesus’ suffering and death, and why that was necessary.  I’m sure he told them of the salvation that was theirs through Jesus Christ.  And I’m sure many accepted Christ as their Savior,

I think sometimes I want to wait for the perfect opportunity to share Christ.  I want all the conditions to be right, and I want the other person to express something that would lead into the conversation.   Paul never waited for that.  He would preach Christ wherever he was, at whatever time, and under any condition.  He was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for he knew it was the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16).  He knew that if one heard, they would never be the same.  In front of hostel crowds or receptive ones, in front of gentiles or Christians, in the midst of shipwreck or storm, Paul preached Christ.  What on earth am I waiting for?  It is this power that will keep me from every evil work, and will preserve me for that heavenly home that awaits.  Why am I so reluctant to share this good news with all those I come in contact with?  Why do I cower and make excuses for my lack of speech?   After all, others need to be delivered from evil works.  They are all around us.  Others want that hope of a heavenly home someday.  They need to hear this message.  I need to give it to them.

Then we come to grace.  Every one of Paul’s letters starts and ends with grace.  There is something about grace that Paul always wants to share with his readers.  Grace – Gods Riches At Christ Expense – is an amazing concept.  It says that the God of all the heavens. The God who created the universe and all that is within it, the God that is all powerful, all knowing and in all places, cares for me and blesses my life.  Grace says that he overlooks my faults and all that I have done against His law and he pours out love, peace and joy into my life.  Grace gives me the fruit of the spirit and the gifts of the spirit.  Grace heals me, delivers me, restores me, cleanses me, watches over me, provides for me, protects me and usually overwhelms me.  I don’t understand this grace.  I don’t understand why He would have grace on my life.  I am a sinner.    I am often consumed by my own life and forget about Him.  I am self-absorbed and often prideful.  How could He give grace to one such as I?  He owes me nothing, I owe Him everything.  I give Him nothing of value, He gives me all the riches of the universe. Grace, grace, God’s grace.  Grace that is greater than all my sin.

It is through Paul’s letters that we come to understand grace.  He explains it in the pages of our Bibles.  He knew this grace, and I know this grace.  Do you know His grace?  Has it touched your life?  Has the longsuffering, kindness, goodness and love of God reached into your heart and touched you?  If not, know that He wants to touch you, be with you, hold you and love you.  He wants your life to be full of His blessings, His riches, His grace.  I think this is why Paul begins and ends every letter with grace.  He wants us to know that God’s grace is always there for us.  It is always alive and vibrant in our lives.  We should never take it for granted.

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