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VIII. Closing: “The God Of Peace” (13:20–25)

The full tale of life's keeping can be summed up in one word: God! Throughout all of life, both this and the next, God has moved toward us in his grace to lift us up and bear us home. He lifted Christ, our great Shepherd, from death and bore him to the heights of glory. By the blood of Christ, efficacious in perpetuity, God has lifted us from death and borne us home as well. In his covenant love we have true and lasting peace, the peace God enjoys and bestows on those who love him. It comes to us in the midst of our struggles and our pain. It sustains us in the onslaught of evil brought against those who confess Jesus' name. In the end, all of life must be seen through the operation of God's grace. Whatever goodness comes to us, rests upon us, and finds expression through us is God's doing. God makes us perfectly fit with every good endowment necessary for the doing of his will (v. 21). As we submit to him, God accomplishes in and through us that which he pleases to do for his name's sake and for the glory of Christ. No higher calling is available than to be the instrument of his good purpose. Faith is yielded to that purpose, and perfection is merely its outworking in the grace and power of God.

This entire letter was meant to be admonitory and encouraging, a sermonic discourse (v. 22) delivered to Christians facing adversity. It came at a time when Christian leaders were being imprisoned; Timothy, apparently recently released (v. 23), is the individual known to us in the circle of Paul's friends. The note of urgency in the epistle reflects the situation facing those to whom it was sent. This personal postscript (vv. 22-25) was added as the letter was dispatched.

Regardless of the circumstances in which Christians, ancient or modern, have found themselves, God's grace is present and more than sufficient for the need. The faithful of every age will find that grace and persevere.

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