The magnificent Ephesian epistle, which unfolds to us the full outpouring of the grace of God, placing, even now, the saints in “heavenly places in Christ,” and investing them with every spiritual blessing, has a very simple ending: “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” Such is the closing desire of the inspired writer.
This salutation does not contemplate them as highly advanced or deeply taught Christians; it does not allude to their exalted position, nor to their having been made the subjects of God’s most wonderful purpose in Christ, but simply addresses them as those who “love our Lord Jesus Christ,” and that “in sincerity.” Grace, he says, be to all such.
God looks for affection of this kind in His children, and promises favour to those who love the blessed Lord truly. It is not enough that we should know and value the heights of blessing gained for us by that which Christ has done, but that we should also love Him who did it, and love Him “in sincerity.”
A clear, divinely given apprehension of our position, privilege, and standing, is precious indeed, if along with it there is personal love for the Lord Jesus; hence the appropriateness of this closing word. How salutary! Observe how that love is qualified. It is to be “in sincerity”: pure, genuine, incorrupt affection for our Lord Jesus Himself. It is not the kiss of a traitorous heart, nor the fulsome expression of one who utters glib sentiments, but the warm beatings of a soul that cherishes its object, and values it more than position or service or honour of any kind. Grace be to all those who appreciate the One who is dearer to God than every one else—the Lord Jesus Christ Himself!
Would that this closing word of Paul had been heeded, then the sad rebuke of unrequited affection—“Thou hast left thy first love”—would never have been necessitated.
How much hangs on sincere love for our Lord Jesus Christ!