2 Corinthians 13:11-14
Here are some parting thoughts:
- Obey the Word of God: ‘’listen to my appeal’’ (11). As an apostle, Paul knew that God was speaking through him, and HE is not to be ignored.
- Set the bar high: ‘’Aim for perfection’’ (11). Don’t settle for anything less than what God has designed you to be in Christ Jesus. His plan for you is total Christ-likeness. Although that will not be fully realised in this world, go for it, and get as much likeness to Jesus as you can here and now. I think it was Robert Murray McCheyne who said it is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. I believe it is true to say that in the Christian life you tend to get what you go for. Someone said that we are, at this moment, as close to Jesus as we really choose to be. In terms of this Christian maturity, Paul says, ‘You aim for it, and I’ll pray for it!’ (11; see 9). That’s a dynamic combination!
- Throw your arms wide: ‘’be of one mind, live in peace’’ (11). Likeness to Christ will be expressed in a love that shows itself in physical greetings that are culturally relevant and acceptable to propriety (12). But even more than that it will be seen in loving ‘’All the saints…’’ (13). If we are growing into the image of Jesus, we will find that we want to live in harmony with all our brothers in Christ, if at all possible. It is an interesting reality that if we choose to live in loving peace we will then experience the presence of ‘’the God of love and peace’’ (11).
- Enjoy the fullness of God (14): The order is important. Jesus is mentioned first, because only through His gracious work on the cross can we ever come to know the love of God the Father experientially, as He sheds it abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Consider a couple of thoughts on this well-known and frequently used blessing: ‘’…there is nothing to indicate that God required the benediction of 2 Corinthians 13:14 to be employed in the Christian churches; yet there is certainly nothing to show that it is incongruous to do As a fact, it has been made use of because of its deep importance doctrinally and because of its appropriateness, for those words are both a confession of the Christian faith and a declaration of Christian privilege.’’ A.W. Pink: ‘Gleanings from Paul’, p.98.
‘’As the ocean unites all lands, and is the medium through which they are able to exchange commodities, so does the blessed Spirit unite the Persons of the Blessed Trinity to each other, and us to them, and secures the oneness for which our Saviour prayed… Of course, we must be very careful of the tender sensibilities and holy disposition of our divine Confederate. We cannot ruthlessly grieve Him by our harshness or impurity at one moment, and turn to Him for his succour and direction at the next. Such divine union as lies within our reach certainly demands on our part watchfulness, a tender conscience, a yielded and pliant will, a heart which has no other love, no affection nor idol inconsistent with the Spirit’s fellowship.’’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Great verses through the Bible’, p.430.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, I never want to grieve you. Help me to be sensitive to you at all times.