Here are a few bumper sticker exhortations from Paul: Live in peace. Warn the idle. Encourage the timid. Help the weak. Be patient. Be kind. Be joyful. Be prayerful. Be thankful. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid evil. Actually those would take a pretty big bumper and it might be a bit overwhelming to try to apply all of them at once. Paul knew this and he reminded his readers that God Himself is faithful and it is God who will bring about all of these needed life changes, and then some. Deliberately living for our Heavenly Father will reshape us as we become more aware of the difference between a selfish self and a holy God. God is trustworthy to lead us as we pursue Him.
It is easy to skim over Paul’s conclusion to his letter and miss the weight of it.“The grace (the unmerited favor and blessings) of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) be with you all. Amen, (so be it).” God, through Jesus and with the written word of Paul’s letter, is offering grace, undeserved mercy, to us. Years ago I learned a helpful acronym and hopefully it helps you to also make clear this concept of grace. GRACE can be described as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. This extended grace is not free, it cost Jesus His life. Jesus chose to obediently lay down His life so we could live. May we be attentive to God’s Presence, His favor and blessing in our lives today as we seek to live like Him and for Him. Our Father, as we become increasingly aware of Your goodness and Your greatness, please help us to break (put to death) our old habits that do not lead to peace, kindness, joy. I pray we would avoid evil every chance we get, and thankfully and prayerfully turn to You who have so richly blessed us with new life through Your Son Jesus. Thank You for grace. Amen.