By Mike Chaffin
I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:17-18
Authenticity and consistency, two traits Paul teaches and displays in the last words of 2 Thessalonians. Traits every Christian should exhibit.
Paul tells us the letter is authentic, but he is also saying authenticity means something. No one who is a true Christian wants to be called a phony. We want our lives to stand for something. We want to be known as an authentic Christian. We want to be counted on in times of trouble as someone people can come to for help, advice, and prayer. Authentic Christians should exude a calm and peaceful charisma that others see and want to imitate. Paul is often telling his readers to imitate him. His life is an example of an authentic Christian.
Ending the letter asking for ‘the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to be with us’ is consistent with many, if not all, of his other letters. Consistency is a trait every Christian should exhibit. As we grow in Christ into a mature Christian, we must exhibit consistency. As Paul taught in Ephesians 4:14-15,
that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
Consistency keeps us from succumbing to the pressures of this world or giving in to the crowd who want to pull us down into the sins they are committing. We know right and we do it. We know wrong and we stay away from it. The world is looking for us to be inconsistent so they can call us hypocrites.
The last words here may not seem like much, but even in his close, Paul is teaching us. Authenticity and consistency, don’t leave home without them.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for these last words showing us how much we can learn from every word in the Bible. Lord, I want to be known for my Christian walk as an authentic Christian, consistent in my love for Christ and for others. Help me to obtain these. In Jesus’s name, amen.