Grace be with you all. Amen.Hebrews 13:25 ASV
This was Paul’s customary way of concluding a letter except for the omitted signature. See Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 16:23; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 6:18; Ephesians 6:24; Philippians 4:23; Colossians 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:18; 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 4:22; Titus 3:15 and Philemon 1:1:25.
In this light, Paul’s benediction of grace, as in this final verse, has much of the quality and significance of a signature – Paul’s!
Grace means the favor of God, especially with regard to his mercy in sending his only begotten Son to suffer and die for people.
The grace of God is exclusive only in the sense that some shall fall short of it (Hebrews 12:15), for the scriptures affirm that it has indeed appeared unto all people (Titus 2:11), being therefore available for all who will properly seek and apply for it.
You all is an expression often criticized by the ignorant, as though there were in it some suggestion of tautology or circumlocution; but this is not the case.
As a matter of fact, the English language affords no way of indicating the plural of the word “you” except by the inclusion of another word to denote who is meant.
Thus, the expressions “you two,” “you both,” “you three,” or “you all” are not merely grammatical, they are the only grammatical means of conveying the exact meaning.
This proud and devout word that stands at the end of many a prayer is here used to conclude the epistle to the Hebrews.
It is sounded in the halls of Congress, pronounced fervently on the field of battle, enunciated over the grave, and murmured by the dying. It is a blessed word.
And how shall it be pronounced?
Ah-men, or A-men?
One might say it makes no difference; and, for many, that is surely true. However, this writer would like to express a preference.
Once he was invited to offer prayer for the opening of one of the daily sessions of the Congress of the United States, the invitation coming from Chaplain Brasscamp.
The Pilgrim fathers, the founding statesmen, and the great body of religious leaders of the American Republic, throughout two and one-half centuries of American history pronounced it “A-men.”
Most of our own fathers said, “A-men”; and the kind of sophistication that considers it a little more “cultured” to say “AH-men” is absolutely ridiculous.
For of him, and through him, and unto him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen.Romans 11:36 ASV
As the great philosopher, John Locke, noted:
This emphatic conclusion seems, in a special sense, to regard the Jews, whom the apostle would hereby teach modesty and submission to the overruling hand of an all-wise God, whom they are very unfit to call to account, for his dealing so favorably with Gentiles. His wisdom and ways are infinitely above their comprehension, and will they take upon them to advise him what to do? Or is God in their debt? Let them say for what, and he shall repay it to them. This is a very strong rebuke to the Jews, but delivered, as we see, in a way very gentle and inoffensive, a method which the apostle endeavors everywhere to observe towards his nation.John Locke
Locke’s understanding this doxology as a rebuke would seem to be justified, as the application of its sentiments is undeniable. There is a message here for all people.
No one should be slow to accept this message for himself, for the thrust of these noble sentiments is timeless, belonging to all times and nations.
It is with such a God that we have to do, and people’s attitude should be that of Job, who said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him” (Job 13:15).
There are some who stumble because so much of this great epistle is concerned with what was essentially a racial problem.
Paul, however, saw it in a larger light as having an application to the essential and inherent character of God himself. It is in that light that his extremely full treatise on this subject is more than justified.
Furthermore, it must be remembered that Paul himself had lived in constant jeopardy of his very life for holding the views proclaimed here.
But, thanks be to God, in such bruisings the full fruit of his matchless intellect in the discernment of the profoundest questions ever pondered with reference to God’s dealings with people was brought forth unto perfection and made available to the people of all ages in the epistle to the Romans.