Christmas Wishes: A Study of Five Biblical Benedictions
The Cross Benediction (Revelation 1:5b-6) reminds us that Christ’s love for us has been demonstrated by His death on the cross. Christ’s redemption saves us from the penalty and power of sin now and from the presence of sin in eternity. We are now part of His kingdom, the sovereign rule of Christ in our hearts and lives. We are to gratefully serve as priests, making Him known to others.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:16, the apostle Paul pronounces a benediction of peace. The Lord Jesus is our source of peace, reconciling us to God (Isaiah 53:5). His peace is sufficient because He is sovereign, and His peace is certain because He is always with us (Philippians 4:17 and 2 Timothy 4:17). Our messiah is Emmanuel, God with us, the prince of peace.
Biblical hope is not wishful thinking. It is a confident expectation based on the promises of God. Paul’s benediction of hope in Romans 15:13 reminds us that God is our source and continuing supplier of hope. He is able to fill us with joy and peace, even in difficult times, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Our role is to place our belief and trust in God.
In Romans 15:5-6, Paul pronounces a benediction of unity upon his readers. The benediction encourages them to live in harmony and to welcome each other. Unity among believers matters because it brings glory to God, it follows the example of Christ, and it is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our Unity should be a witness to a watching world (John 17:20-23). We are to be a unified body, a family, a fellowship.
A benediction is a sincere, earnest wish for all who hear it to receive by faith. Paul’s New Testament letters are filled with benedictions of grace because he understood the reality, necessity, and wonder of God’s grace. Grace is the undeserved favor of God, lavished upon us and available because of Christs’s sacrificial death on the cross. “Grace to you” refers to our salvation apart from our own works. “Grace with you” refers to our ability to access God’s grace in our lives each day.