The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.2 Corinthians 13:14(NASB)
As Paul draws his second, lengthy epistle to the Corinthian Christians to a close, he reiterates his earlier exhortations to seek after unity within the body of Christ, to be of good comfort to one another, and to remain encouraged in the truth of the glorious gospel of God.
As Paul prepares to bid these beloved believers at Corinth farewell, for the last time, he entreated them towards godly conduct.. beseeching them to live together in brotherly peace and to maintain godly harmony.
Paul instructed them to remain united together, with one mind.. before committing them into the Lord's safe-keeping, with a beautiful benediction, that has become beloved by generations of believers - the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of God, the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
It was Aaron who sought God's favour and protection over the people of Israel, with the well-loved benediction - The LORD bless you, and keep you. The LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you. The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace..' while it was Paul who bestowed an equally beloved blessing on the Church, by commending them into the safe-keeping of the triune Godhead - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Paul's blessing to the Christian Church has become beloved by generations of godly saints. Indeed, it is often prayed as a parting benediction, before brothers and sisters in Christ depart from a time of Christian fellowship, and it is often prayed as a beautiful blessing over those for whom we care deeply: - may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with YOU.
The hallmark of the Triune Godhead is seen within this gracious petition. It is the love of the Father-heart of God, that sent His only begotten Son, into the world, to be the sacrifice for the sin of humanity - so that whosoever believes on HIM would not perish, but have everlasting life. It was the love that streamed from the Father-heart of God, for a fallen race of sinners, that caused Him to give His only begotten Son of His love.. to be wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities and to die for our sin - so that we might live and be clothed in His righteousness.
It is the permanently indwelling Holy Spirit, Who has been sent by the Father to commune with us as our Comforter and Guide - our Shield and Defender. He guards us from the evil one and guides us into all truth. He prompts us in our worship and empowers us in our witness. He enables us to carry out the good works that God has prepared for us to do, and He graciously bestows on us spiritual gifts, which are used for God's glory. It is the Holy Spirit Who counsels and comforts us and is always there for us, no matter what difficulties or dangers we may have to face - and it is the Holy Spirit that points us to Christ, our God and Saviour
And it is by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that we have been saved.. for He set aside His glorious majesty to become one of us, and to take upon His sinless body the punishment that we deserve for the sin we have committed. It is by grace that sinners, deserving of death and hell, have become blood-bought children of God and received an eternal citizenship in heaven.
It is by grace that Christ, Who although He was rich, became poor on our account, so that we... through His poverty, we might become richly blessed. It is by the marvellous grace of our great and loving Kinsman-Redeemer, that our sins are forever forgiven. And it is by His grace that we have passed from death to life.
It is by the grace of Christ, the eternal Lamb of God, that we have been purged, cleansed, forgiven, redeemed and reconciled with the Father. It is by grace - through our faith in Jesus, that we have been given eternal life and an everlasting inheritance, that is kept for us in heaven.
And may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you ALL - Hallelujah - what a Saviour.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your great love for me. Thank You for the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit and thank You for sending the Lord Jesus to be the sacrifice for my sin. I pray that the grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit would be with all Your blood-bought children - today and until the coming of Christ in the clouds, for His church - this I ask in Jesus name, AMEN.
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