16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! 17 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Paul’s salutation is clear, precise, and validating. We must remember that the Thessalonians were having problems because of false letters being written to them claiming they were from Paul. This is why verse 17 verifies the author. It is known that sometimes Paul had others write for him, such as Timothy. Here we can see, however, that there was an important aspect to him writing the letter himself so that there was no question who the letter was coming from. I think it is also cool that he pointed out the distinguishing marks of his original handwriting so they may compare to other letters they receive. This will help guarantee they are receiving the true words of the Apostle Paul. In verses 16 and 18, he mentions 3 distinct “things” that he prays remains “with” the Thessalonians: Peace, the Lord, and Grace.
Peace. What actually is peace? For me, it is the absence of worry. Sometimes I think of those times in movies where absolute chaos surrounds a character but they seem to be calm, collected, and time slows down. This is the visual I get when I think of peace. There is no emotional concern or overstressed thought process. It is confidence knowing that God is in control of everything.
The Lord. Without getting into a theological debate, I think Paul’s point here was talking about the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we talk about God “being with” someone, but what does that really mean? The way our Lord is with us is through His Spirit that lives in us. If we have accepted this gift, then He is always with us! I believe this part of Paul’s salutation is his prayer that all be saved.
Grace. It is interesting how closely these three elements fit together. For it is by grace alone that we are saved through faith, faith that God is in control. It almost seems like Paul said these things in reverse order, since the whole process starts with God’s grace, doesn’t it? It seems to be a refining process as he writes his final words. Peace comes from the Lord’s presence, which is a result of grace. Did Paul intend it that way? Honestly, it doesn’t matter; God intended it that way.
Where are you at today in this process? Are you still in need of God’s grace to be saved? If so, ask Him about it .
Do you feel as though you are without God’s presence? Seek Him out through His Word and Truth.
Do you need peace? Pray for His comfort and guidance to understand whatever situation you are in, why you are in it, and His plan for you in it. It isn’t coincidence, it is on purpose. Knowing this purpose is what gives you peace.