Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 4

The blessing of Christ’s grace

Philippians 4:23

Paul ends the Book of Philippians with a blessing. A blessing means words to declare God’s goodness to his people. This is the way that Paul ends all of his letters (compare 2 Thessalonians 3:17-18). We would also guess that he also ended all his sermons, his public speeches to the churches, in this way. Perhaps he also spoke a blessing whenever he said goodbye to a Christian. For Paul, the blessing was not just pleasant words. It was an important part of his work for God as a church leader.

We can compare this with Numbers 6:22-27, where God told Israel’s priests to bless the people. That was an important part of their duties in the work of God. Of course God can show his goodness to someone even if nobody has declared a blessing. However, God wanted the priests to declare his blessing upon the people. He wanted the relationship between himself, the priests and the people to be a right relationship. Then, he could show his goodness as a result of the blessing that the priests had declared to the people.

Here, Paul’s blessing is that Christians will know Christ’s grace in their spirits. Grace means God’s great kindness. That grace both brings Christians into a right relationship with God, and works through them to help other people (1 Corinthians 15:10). They need God’s grace to be active through their whole lives as Christians (2 Corinthians 12:9). We must not think that God’s grace is mainly for our bodies, to make our lives on earth more comfortable. God’s grace is mainly for our spirit, our inner person. It is in our spirit that we need a right relationship with God. That relationship is not just for this life. Our spirit does not die with our body, but can go to heaven, to live always with Christ (1:23). That is God’s promise to all of his people, and it will happen by his grace, his wonderful kindness.

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© 2020, Keith Simons.