An old immigrant lady was once asked why she so faithfully attended the church services when they were conducted in a language she could not understand. She replied, "I want to gather with the church to receive the King's blessing."
Which parts of the liturgy was this woman emphasizing the importance of?
I Thessalonians 1 :2b, II Thessalonians 1 :2, I Timothy 1 :2, II Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4, and Philemon:3). Sometimes the words, "in the communion of the Holy Ghost," from II Corinthians 13:14, are added to make the salutation trinitarian - to include the Names of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
A second common salutation is taken from John's greeting to the seven churches of Asia in Revelation 1:4-5a, "Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Amen."
The following truths are important to comprehend when God's salutation is pronounced:
It is God's word of greeting - The votum testifies of the church's relationship to God, her dependency upon Him; in its proclamation, the minister speaks as the church's spokesman to God. The salutation testifies of God's relationship to His church; in its proclamation, the minister speaks as God's spokesman to the church.
It is a greeting of gracious peace - What a rich comfort it would be to a guilty person who enters the king's house to hear words of peace from his mouth! So spiritually, it is even a greater wonder to the guilty sinner to hear, "Grace be unto you, and peace from God." What a rich encouragement to the doubting, trembling sinner who fears to enter God's house, to come into His presence, to hear these words of greeting!
It follows upon a confession of helplessness - In the votum, the church confesses its helplessness and need for the LORD, "Our help is in the Name of the LORD." What beautiful, undeserving, wonderful words are spoken by God in response to His church's confession - "Grace be unto you and peace," and that from a triune God!