In each of Paulís letters, he always blessed the people to whom he was writing. Clearly, he considered that to be important (see Numbers 6:22-27).
This is not just a friendly greeting. Here, Paul blesses Romeís Christians in the name of God the Father and Jesus Christ. That is, he blesses them on behalf of God and of Christ. Paul knew that he must not use Godís name in vain (Deuteronomy 5:11). ĎIn vainí means without any proper purpose. Therefore, clearly, Paul believed that his words to bless people would achieve their purpose. God really would show this special kindness to those people.
Jesus, too, believed that. That was why he blessed even little children. His disciples (special students) protested against this; but Jesus insisted that it was important. The children might be too young to understand it, but God was doing something wonderful in their lives (Mark 10:13-16).
Probably this should not surprise us. Both Jesus and Paul believed strongly that God answers prayer. When we bless someone, that is a type of prayer. We pray for God to show his goodness to that person. Here, Paul prays that Romeís Christians will know Godís grace and his peace. Grace means the kindness of God. Peace is the calm and content attitude that is the result of a right relationship with God.
Prayers are powerful (James 5:17-18), but Paulís words here are more than a prayer. At the same time, he is making a declaration on Godís behalf. He declares that God really will do these things for Romeís Christians. God will give to them his grace and his peace.
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© 2017, Keith Simons.