Philippiansby David Sanford
It's time for Paul to offer a doxology, greetings, and a final blessing to his dear brothers and sisters in Christ from the city of Philippi.
First, his doxology: ″To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen″ (Philippians 4:20). As with his doxologies in other epistles, Paul gives honour and glory to God the Father. The same is true of the doxologies in Hebrews, 1 Peter, Jude, and Revelation. While our worship properly begins with God the Father, this doesn't mean we don't praise Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We thank God the Father for sending His Son and express equal thanks for the Spirit. Indeed, each Sunday, countless millions of Christians around the world sing:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Second, Paul offers a series of three greetings. He begins with: ″Greet all God's people in Christ Jesus″ (v. 21), which refers to all believers associated with the church in Philippi. He continues with: ″The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings″ (v. 21), which refers to Timothy, Epaphroditus, and others. And he concludes with: ″All God's people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar's household″ (v. 22). This refers to Christians in the city where Paul is imprisoned, and includes those won to Jesus Christ through his own witness (1:13, 14, 16).
Now that travel between cities and nations is more prevalent than ever, we should remember Paul's example. When we arrive in a new place, let's greet our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let's give them the greetings of believers from our home city (and nation). Such greetings bind us together in Christian love and offer a powerful witness to a watching world.
Finally, Paul offers a benediction. In many ways, Paul's benedictions serve as bookends to his opening salutations. With two exceptions (1 & 2 Timothy), the latter are nearly identical in his epistles: ″Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ″ (Philippians 1:2). With two exceptions (in Romans and Ephesians), and a little bit more variety, his benedictions offer the same blessing: ″The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen″ (4:23).
Whenever we meet fellow believers, we do well to close with a similar benediction. It blesses all present and brings honour, glory, and praise to our Lord and Saviour.
In Christian gatherings, which of these-doxology, greetings, benediction-have you heard, and how often?
After journeying through Paul's epistle to the Philippians, what do you most want to remember?