2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.
13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
V.13 is a greeting we often see included in the liturgies of the church, coming at the beginning of the worship service. Yet here the greeting comes at the end of Paul’s letter, not the beginning. This gives me a different lens through which to think about the verse.
In verses 11 and 12 Paul commends to the believers in Corinth a number of things: “Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another…” and so on. These sound like simple things, however they are not easily done. Take “agree with one another” for example. Spend enough time with any group of people, Christians included, and disagreements will emerge. Most of the time disagreements are trivial, but sometimes not. Sometimes entire churches split, even entire denominations. Live in peace? Christians fight all the time with those outside the church and with one another. I could go on.
Turns out, the only hope we have to actually live as Paul commends are the three things he mentions. First there is “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ”. Through Jesus Christ our sin and brokenness have been forgiven. We have been restored to God in the name of Jesus and freed to live as children of God. The “love of God” is how we find capacity to love others, even those who appear unloveable. Our love for others is an overflow of God’s love for us. Finally, living in “communion with the Holy Spirit” means we’re continually aware of how the Spirit dwells within us, leading and guiding us in all righteousness.
What do you need from the Lord today?
Lord Jesus, teach us to live as Paul commends. For without you working in our lives we cannot do it. Amen.