After asking his audience to pray for him and his coworkers (Heb. 13:18–19), the author of Hebrews in today’s passage prays for his audience. In so doing, he asks for God’s blessing on his readers in a theologically rich benediction (vv. 20–21).
The author offers this prayer to the “God of peace” (v. 20). This title, which also appears five other times in the New Testament (see also Rom. 15:33; 16:20; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thess. 5:23), reflects the great Jewish longing for peace and acknowledges that this source of peace is God Himself. In the Old Testament, “peace” translates the Hebrew word shalom, which refers not only to a cessation of hostilities between warring parties but also to a state of wholeness in which everything is rightly ordered and prosperity abounds (e.g., see Isa. 32:14–18). Only God can grant such peace, for only He can reconcile us to Himself, reconcile us to one another, and renew the creation (Rom. 5:1–4; 8:19–21).
Such peace comes to us through the “blood of the eternal covenant” and the resurrection of Jesus (Heb. 13:20). Through the shedding of the blood of Christ on the cross, God fully and finally cleansed us of sin, enabling us to stand before Him unafraid (9:1–10:22). Jesus was then raised from the dead for our justification, as His rising again affirms that God accepted His sacrifice and imputes to believers the perfect righteousness of Christ (Rom. 3:21–4:25; 2 Cor. 5:21).
The author of Hebrews prays that the God of peace, through Jesus Christ, will give his audience everything they need to do good as God works in us what is pleasing to His sight (Heb. 13:21). With this request, we are reminded that “we are enabled to do God’s will through God’s constant work of grace in our souls,” as John Owen comments. We can do nothing pleasing to God in and of ourselves, but all the good that we do in our thoughts, words, and deeds is on account of the work of the Holy Spirit in us. We have nothing that we did not receive from God (1 Cor. 4:7). God gives us the grace and the faith to believe and to demonstrate that belief through doing the good works that He has prepared for us (Eph. 2:8–10).
The work of God in reconciling us to Himself through Christ and in equipping us to do good as He works out what is pleasing in His sight within us redounds to the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord (v. 21). God does not save us merely for our sake but so that His Son will be glorified (3:3; 2 Peter 3:18).