2 Corinthians 13.14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen
The letters of Paul to the church of Corinth are filled with reproof, rebukes, corrections and warnings. They were divided over their favorite teacher. They were lenient in dealing with sexual sin. They were flagrant in flaunting their “liberty” in Christ. They turned the Lord’s Supper into a banquet that divided the have’s and have not’s. Their usage of spiritual gifts were way out of order. They were carnal. And yet, they were sanctified in Christ Jesus.
Can you believe it, beloved? A church having all of these problems under the watch of apostles Peter and Paul? Lest we forget, Every single Christian and every single congregation falls short of the glory of God. Sinless perfection is a state that is reserved for heaven. Until we get to heaven, we are all a work in progress. While it is vital for us to repent when we are guilty of sin or wrongdoing. It is equally true that we should always seek to use those moments of tension, or conflict or sin as opportunities to grow and to move on in The Lord together.
Repeatedly, Paul tells these saints that they belong to Jesus Christ. They are not disjointed parts of His body who are able to ignore their need of one another. They are not independent parts who can do their own thing without any regard for one another. They are to walk in the love, forgiveness and grace of God towards one another. They are to walk in the shadow of the cross and the power of the empty tomb! They are twice born, new creatures in Christ whose enemy is the devil, whose number one problem is their own flesh, whose constant source of temptation is this fallen world system’s way of thinking and living.
Paul did not hold back any punches. But his goal was not to beat them up, but to build them up. So how does Paul end his correspondence to this heaven bound church that is riddled with many problems? The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen. He prays for the presence of The Lord’s grace, love and communion. Put down your swords. Put away your divisive and selfish living. Forgive one another. Walk in love, not lust.
Years ago I heard Pastor Chuck Smith say at a pastors conference these words, “When the body of Christ is divided, Who bleeds?” The blood of Christ on the cross was shed to unite us, not divide us. May every incident and revelation of imperfection and wrongdoing in the church drive us to Christ and bring forth the fruit of repentance and forgiveness instead of rip us apart and give place to the flesh and the devil. So to you my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.