|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:16-18 A new creation to the image of Christ, as showing faith in him, is the greatest distinction between one man and another, and a blessing is declared on all who walk according to this rule. The blessings are, peace and mercy. Peace with God and our conscience, and all the comforts of this life, as far as they are needful. And mercy, an interest in the free love and favour of God in Christ, the spring and fountain of all other blessings. The written word of God is the rule we are to go by, both in its doctrines and precepts. May his grace ever be with our spirit, to sanctify, quicken, and cheer us, and may we always be ready to maintain the honour of that which is indeed our life. The apostle had in his body the marks of the Lord Jesus, the scars of wounds from persecuting enemies, for his cleaving to Christ, and the doctrine of the gospel. The apostle calls the Galatians his brethren, therein he shows his humility and his tender affection for them; and he takes his leave with a very serious prayer, that they might enjoy the favour of Christ Jesus, both in its effects and in its evidences. We need desire no more to make us happy than the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle does not pray that the law of Moses, or the righteousness of works, but that the grace of Christ, might be with them; that it might be in their hearts and with their spirits, quickening, comforting, and strengthening them: to all which he sets his Amen; signifying his desire that so it might be, and his faith that so it would be.
Verse 18. - Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen (ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Ξριστοῦ μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματος ὑμῶν ἀδελφοί Ἀμήν); the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen. "The grace of Jesus Christ" denotes his Saviour's loving-kindness, not only effectual in making a guilty soul acceptable to God through his atonement, but also in purifying it from sin, enduring it with spiritual strength, and securing its final salvation. The pre-eatery imperative "be," which, of course, is to be supplied, clothes a friendly wish in the pious form of a prayer. "With," the μετὰ which, in the Septuagint, represents the Hebrew 'im, meaning "present to help," is illustrated by Genesis 21:22; Ruth 2:4; Judges 6:12; Matthew 1:23; 28:90; John 3:2; John 16:32. "With your spirit," here, as in Philippians 4:23; Philemon 1:25; 2 Timothy 4:22, replaces the "with you," which is the form in which the farewell greeting is commonly couched; as in 1 Corinthians 16:23; Ephesians 6:24, etc. There is no polemical reference whatever in the substitution; rather it is an affectionate amplification or intensification of the kindly wish or blessing, the outcome of affectionate yearning, after the stern rebukes which he had felt himself compelled to address to them. It expresses his desire that Christ's grace might be very near to them - near to the most intimate and most controlling part of their nature. The singular "spirit" is conjoined with the plural pronoun "your," as in Romans 8:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19 ("your body"); 1 Thessalonians 5:23, "your spirit and soul and body." The word "brethren" is added last of all, as it were in caressing affectionateness, as in Philemon 1:7. The final "Amen" seals the true earnestness and the devotional spirit of the benediction.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Brethren,.... So he calls them, to testify his affection for them, notwithstanding their infirmity and instability, and the roughness with which he had treated them; and to show his great humility and condescension in owning the relation, and putting them on a level with himself, which the pride of the false teachers would not suffer them to do.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit: which is his concluding benediction and usual salutation and token in all his epistles: he wishes that more gifts of grace might be bestowed upon them; that the Gospel of the grace of God might be continued with them; that the love of Christ might be shed abroad in their hearts; that they might receive out of his fulness grace for grace; that there might be an increase of grace in their souls; that it might abound in them, and they grow in the exercise of it: he does not pray that the law of Moses, or the righteousness of works, but that the grace of Christ might be with them; not in the mere notion of it, but in the spiritual experience of it; that it might be in their hearts, and with their spirits, quickening, comforting, and strengthening them; making them more spiritual and evangelical in their frames and duties, and freeing them from a carnal and legal spirit: to all which he sets his
Amen; signifying his desire that so it might be, and his faith that so it would be. The subscription of the letter follows,
unto the Galatians, written from Rome; where perhaps he was then a prisoner; the Arabic version adds, "by Titus and Luke": who might be sent with it, but the subscriptions of the epistles are not to be depended on.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. Brethren—Place it, as Greek, "last" in the sentence, before the "Amen." After much rebuke and monition, he bids them farewell with the loving expression of brotherhood as his last parting word (see on Ga 1:6).
be with your spirit—which, I trust, will keep down the flesh (1Th 5:23; 2Ti 4:22; Phm 25).
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