When we look at the books of the New Testament (NT) chronologically, we can do something kind of interesting. We can look at the main authors of the NT (Peter, Paul, and John), and figure out which words we can read in scripture were the “last words” of aforesaid Peter, Paul, and John. That is what we are going to do in this article, but it is also interesting to go through and read the last sentences of the books of the Bible; it doesn’t take long and it can really make you think, so when you have some free study time, try it out.
Alright, here’s the list:
Peter: 2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Paul: 2 Timothy 4:22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
John: Revelation 22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Do you see the theme yet? I see 3 components that are always there. This article is inspired by a teaching by Doc Scott, and he picked one aspect to focus on so I mention that component first, and that is grace. “Grow in grace,” “grace be with you,” and “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” Do you think grace is important? Each and every last word from the heavy hitters of the NT includes grace. What is the second? Jesus Christ. What is the third? The “amen,” the affirmation to the reader of these things. When God repeats things, they tend to be important don’t they?
In order of importance:
1) Jesus. Let’s look at the phrases used: Lord, Saviour, Christ. Those are the titles given to Him in these three passages. The way that the word “Lord” is used here by Jewish individuals can leave no room for debate, it means they are bestowing the honor of the word reserved for God and apply it to Jesus. Remember Thomas’ “my Lord and my God?” Here that is underscored by the big 3. Saviour meaning one who saves. Christ meaning Messiah. So Jesus, our “God is with us,” Who is our Savior and Messiah is the cornerstone of the great last words of Peter, Paul, and John. We would expect no less, but do we recognize Him in such a profound way in our speech, even in our churches in today’s world? Should He not be included in every single last word that we have in our churches and between believers? Our Lord, Saviour, and Messiah; Jesus.
Peter even admonishes us to grow in the knowledge of Jesus. We should learn of and be reminded of, His life, death, and resurrection. His life including perfection, and His teachings, His death and why He had to die, and His resurrection as the sign and promise of our faith. Study it, teach it, learn of Him because His yoke is easy and burden light.
2) Grace. I’ve taught on here about grace. The Greek means “unmerited favor.” Peter received the grace of Jesus firsthand after denying Him 3 times. Jesus forgave and forgave and forgave. Peter never earned it. Neither do we ever earn forgiveness. We cannot work our way to forgiveness, there is no physical act we can do to earn forgiveness, He bestows it upon us and we are to grow in it! This is why I decry anything that smacks of sacramentalism. Peter, Paul and John offer the reminder of grace and the free flowing nature of it from God to us, and we don’t do anything to merit it. The Lord and Saviour Jesus the Messiah did everything to merit the grace for us!! What is our response? Faith.
In Galatians 2:21 Paul boldly proclaims “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Jesus died for the free flow of grace to us from our God! His death was both necessary and sufficient to open the gate… to tear down the curtain dividing us from God. Paul clearly says, “grace be with you.” Unmerited favor be with you. No hoops, no red tape; grace be with you. The same comes from John, the Apostle of love; “grace be with you.” Do you get it yet? lol Grace be with YOU.
3) Amen. Amen translates into “so be it.” Grace be with you, so be it. That’s double affirmation being displayed with faith. It is the communication that what has proceeded the “amen” is in line with God’s will, and that it shall be done because of His goodness and promises. When we have faith, which is trust, in what God has said and done, we have that ability to say amen; so be it. Jesus is Lord, Saviour, and Messiah. Learn about Him. Grow in His grace. So be it! If only our preachers and teachers reminded us of this, and underscored the meaning of it, and taught it with authority.
So, those are the things that Peter, Paul, and John believed were so fundamental that they included them at the very end of their correspondence. Humans tend to remember the first things and the last things mentioned to them in letters and speeches. Pay attention to these things and put them in your heart, because they are fundamental to what it means to be Christians.
To my fellow believers in Jesus who have placed their trust in Him, I say; grace and peace be with you through faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!