salvation by grace

The grace of our Lord be with you

Romans 16:19-24

19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
21 Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen.
22 I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord.
23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.
(Some manuscripts insert verse 24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.)- Romans 16:19-24

It is great that Paul was able to rejoice over the obedience of the church at Rome. I wonder if Paul was alive today how many churches he would be able to commend for their obedience? As time moves towards the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ the world seems to have forgotten what true Christianity is. We live in a time when it is acceptable to believe what ever you like so long as you do not claim to be presenting the absolute truth. Relativism is the view that there is no absolute truth but all moral and ethical values are based in the culture they stem from. Local cultural norms dictate the framework of assessment for what is good or bad, right or wrong. Briefly put this is the very lie that Satan gave Adam and Eve in the garden.

“Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” – Genesis 3:1 b.

Satan questioned absolute truth then went on to directly lie to Eve:

“You will not surely die.  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5 

The story of Adam and Eve shows the subtle way Satan uses his influence to make truth relative.

But God sent Jesus Christ who is the Truth, the absolute truth.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ – John 1:17

assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, – Ephesians 4:21

Jesus is the truth and when he comes again we will see Satan crushed by the God of peace as Jesus is revealed as the victorious Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Paul refers here to the fact that Satan will be crushed under our feet. For the reason that every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ (past, present and future) will be with Him in that glorious victory procession proving forever that Satan was defeated at the Cross. And it is all by grace.

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. – Ephesians 2:8

It is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that has brought us salvation.

Paul finishes this section by sending greetings from his fellow workers (including the note from Tertius to say he was the scribe who actually penned the epistle, the only time one of Paul’s scribes is named). Then there is the mystery surrounding verse 24. Not all manuscripts have this verse recorded. However as it has no bearing on any doctrinal issue but is a repeat of a well known blessing, already stated in verse 20, “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you”

What is important is the declaration that Christ is victorious and that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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