The writer to the Hebrews' final word of encouragement is the most important of all: grace to meet our every need. “Grace be with you all.”
Grace has been a very important theme of this letter. In Hebrews 2:9, our author says that Jesus “suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” In Hebrews 4:16 he says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” In Hebrews 10:29, this writer warns us against insulting “the Spirit of grace” and in 12:15 he cautions, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God …” In 12:28 he says, “Let us be thankful,” or literally, “let us hold on to grace”. Finally, we read our author’s encouragement that it is better to be “strengthened by grace” than by ceremonial foods (Hebrews 13:9).
Throughout this letter, we have seen that living the Christian life can be very challenging. However, thankfully, we are not left to rely on our own power. Grace …
God’s unmerited favor in Jesus Christ is for all! God’s grace in Christ is for you, it’s for me, it’s for every person who has ever lived, is alive now, or will ever live on planet earth. “Grace be with you all.” What a note of hope to end on!
Some time ago I read some of the works of the so-called Apostolic Fathers, that is some of the writings of the early church that followed the New Testament. Sadly, in some cases, these early Christian writings tended to emphasize works more than grace. Reading these writings of the early church reminded me once again that GRACE is the hallmark of the Christian life.
May it be the identifying mark of your life as well! There may be no more important last word in the whole world.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh once wrote these words in her lovely book, Gift from the Sea,
“I want first of all ... to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact—to borrow the language of the saints—to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus, when he said, ‘May the outward and inward man be one.’ I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.”
That state is called grace, and it is the gift of God through his Son Jesus Christ. Receive that gift afresh today; live in it, and share it with all whom you meet.
If you would like to listen to the entire sermon, of which this is an excerpt, or if you would like to listen to any of my messages from Hebrews, you may click here: Hebrews.