â€œPaul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in theÂ Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.â€ (1 Thessalonians 1:1)
These are the very first of Paulâ€™s divinely inspired words, and in this first of his inspired greetings, he set a pattern which he would later follow in all his other epistles. He would always begin with an implicit prayer that both grace and peace, sent from God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, would be received and experienced by the ones to whom he was writing. Furthermore, â€œgraceâ€ always precedes â€œpeaceâ€ in these salutations, because one must receive the grace of God before he can experience the peace of God.
By this strong emphasis on graceâ€”preceding anything else he might write to the church or its pastorâ€”he confirmed the great importance of Godâ€™s loving grace. Grace is the first essential in salvation and is the continuing vital essential in Christian living. The Thessalonians had already been saved by grace through faith, but now the grace of God their Father and Jesus Christ their Lord must also be lived out in their personal behavior, especially in their dealings with others, to whom God would also manifest His grace through them.
Paul also closed every epistle with a prayer that the grace of the Lord Jesus would continue to be with all who read them. Finally, the last of his inspired words (written while he was in prison) to his young disciple, Timothy, were: â€œThe Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amenâ€ (2 Timothy 4:22).
Each true Christian life must begin, continue, and end in the sustaining grace of the Savior. Indeed, the very last revealed words of God Himself in the Holy Scriptures are: â€œThe grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amenâ€ (Revelation 22:21). Thank God for His amazing grace. HMM