Saturday, March 23, 2013

Doxology, Greetings and Benediction

Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar's household.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Philippians 4:20-23)
Paul has thanked the Jesus believers at Philippi for their faithful support and partnership with him in the ministry of the gospel. He has urged and encouraged them to work out the differences they have among themselves and come together as a team for the sake of the gospel. He has given them the supreme example of the Lord Jesus Christ and His attitude of humble servanthood to guide them. He has shown them that God is at work in them, creating in them the desire for His way and empowering them to do His good pleasure. He has offered himself, Timothy, Epaphroditus and others as good patterns for living out their life in Christ. He has shown them many reasons to rejoice and celebrate in the Lord. And now he brings his letter to a close, with familiar elements that appear in all his letters: doxology, greetings and benediction.

Doxology

The word “doxology” comes from doxa, the Greek word for “glory.” A doxology is a prayer that lavishes praise and honor on God. It has two main features: A statement of God’s glory, goodness or praiseworthiness, and an expression of His eternality.

At the beginning of this letter, Paul offered a benediction of grace and mercy, “from God our Father.” Now he invokes glory “to our God and Father.” As believers in the Lord Jesus, we share together in the same faith and the same family, with God as our Father. Even in his doxology, Paul is reinforcing one of the main themes of this letter: We are all in this together.

The ultimate reason for everything Paul has written in this letter, and indeed in all his letters, is that God may be glorified. He is worthy of all glory, honor and praise for ever and ever.

Greetings

Greetings customarily appear at the end of Paul’s letters and convey his own warm regards and those of his companions. Here he sends them to each one of the believers at Philippi. The church as a community matters but so do the individual believers, and together they are one. Paul refers to them as “saints,” just as he did at the beginning of his letter. Individually and together as a church, they are holy ones who have been set apart by God as His own.

Paul also takes this opportunity to send greetings from “the brethren,” who are his ministry companions, and also from all the believers with him in Rome, especially those who are part of Caesar’s household. Remember that Paul is under house arrest there for preaching that Jesus is Lord and Messiah. Earlier in his letter, he mentioned how this had become evident “to the whole palace guard” (Philippians 1:13). No doubt, those who guarded him heard quite a bit about the gospel, and apparently some came to the Lord Jesus through his ministry.

Benediction

A benediction is a prayer of blessing, calling on the power and goodness of God to be present and active in the life of the one being blessed. Paul began his letter with a benediction: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:2). Now he closes with one: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”

The grace that comes to us from God comes to us through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is to us and with us and for us. God always has grace towards us, it is always with us, it is always for our benefit. And it always brings Him glory.

From God we receive grace, to Him we give glory. Forever and ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Focus Questions
  1. How does giving glory to God our Father bring us together?
  2. How does recognizing our identity as “saints” strengthen the purpose of Paul’s letter?
  3. How might you extend the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ others?



There is Always Joy!
There is Always Joy!
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Philippi
Bite-Sized Studies Through the Book of Philippians
by Jeff Doles

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