Friday, February 03, 2023

2023.02.03 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Corinthians 13:11–14

Read 2 Corinthians 13:11–14

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle begin by saying in 2 Corinthians 13:11? What does the apostle tell them to become? What three things does he tell them to do? What will be with them as they do this? How does he tell them to greet one another (2 Corinthians 13:12)? Who greet them (2 Corinthians 13:13)? What is the first article of the blessing of this benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14)? From Whom, especially, does this grace come? What is His identity? What is His Name? What is His title? What is the second article of blessing? From Whom especially? What is the third article of blessing? From Whom especially? How is this Spirit identified as God? Unto which Corinthian believers is this blessing pronounced? How does this blessing conclude? 

Where do believers learn to bless one another? 2 Corinthians 13:11–14 looks forward to the p.m. sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In this verse of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the people of God learn to bless one another from the God Who blesses them with the blessing that is in Himself. 

For someone who has just pleaded with them that he not have to come in sharpness to make a painful visit, the apostle’s closing to this letter is very affectionate. He calls them brethren. He reminds them of his stated goal for them from the end of 2 Corinthians 13:9—that they would come to be everything that Christ has called them to be. It is not his own honor at which he aims but theirs.

The word that is translated “comfort” in 2 Corinthians 13:11 is that ‘parakaleo’ word that we hear so much about. He is encouraging them that in the Spirit, in the Word, and in the Lord’s ministry to them through each other, they have called-alongside-them all that they need in order to arrive at this completion.

Of course, if we are to be used in this way in one another’s lives, we cannot be in continual disagreement on important things. As elsewhere in Scripture (and especially in the Corinthian letters), the apostle calls us here to be of one mind. To think the same things. Theological diversity is never praised in the Bible. Unity is attained by the perfecting of each one’s doctrine according to Scripture, so that all come to agree.

Yet, we know that if we all have doctrinal precision, this is not the same as having ‘good’ doctrine. For, the Bible presents itself as a book not just to be believed but especially to be lived. They are not only to be of one mind, but as each practices what he learns from Scripture, they are to live in peace.

How is it possible for a sinful church like Corinth to do this? Their wickedness is not so great as God’s love. Their tendency for strife is not so great as God’s peace. Ultimately, this is one of those arenas of grace—opportunities for His strength to be displayed in the midst of our weakness. It is God’s love and God’s peace that will be with them.

And it is that peace which they are to have with one another in their local congregation (2 Corinthians 13:12), which they are to enjoy and extend to all the congregations of Christ’s church (2 Corinthians 13:13). Indeed, our fellowship is not only with one another; it is with the triune God. Upon His grace, it all rests. From His love, it all came. And in fellowship with Him, it is all done. Amen!

He is the God Who is ever-blessed in His triune Self in love and fellowship. And He blesses us by bringing us into His own love and fellowship, as He brings us into dependence upon Him in His grace.

How are you being prepared for glory? Becoming of one mind with others of comprehensively Scriptural doctrine? Expressing and enjoying love and unity with other believers? 

Sample prayer: Lord, You are the ever-blessed God in Whom we live and move and have our being. Forgive us for the disunity and selfishness in which we live in our sin. As You have toned for us in Christ and joined us to Him, so now grant that in Him, we would have the blessing of the triune God. Bless us with the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, we ask in Christ’s Name, Amen!

 Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

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