A grace and love that is not weak (2 Corinthians 12-13)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (13:13)

Those are extremely famous words. But I wonder how often they are misunderstood.

Some people think of the grace and love of God, and they think of it as this soft and fluffy thing.

But Paul says this at the end of some extremely hard things he had to say to the Corinthian church. Some were questioning his apostleship. Others were living in unrepentant sin. (12:20-22)

And so Paul warns them, “If you do not get things right by the time I get there, I will have to deal with you. And you will not like it.” (13:2)

Then he tells them,

He (Christ) is not weak in dealing with you, but powerful among you. For he was crucified in weakness, but he lives by the power of God. (13: 3-4)

Does that sound like a soft and fluffy love and grace to you?

And so Paul tells them,

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. (13:5)

He said something very similar in his first letter to the Corinthians when talking about the judgment that was coming upon them for not treating the Lord’s table with proper reverence.

 If we were properly judging ourselves, we would not be judged, but when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined, so that we may not be condemned with the world. (I Corinthians 11:31-32)

If we, who are the Lord’s, will not properly test and judge our own actions and motives, the Lord will discipline us. Not because he hates us, but out of his love and grace so that we will not be condemned with the world.

That’s why Paul clarified that when he exercised his authority to bring discipline upon them, it was not to tear them down, but to build them up. (2 Corinthians 13:10)

And his prayer in all this was that they would become mature (11).

It is with all this in mind, that Paul then concludes,

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (13:13)

This grace and love is not a soft grace. It is a grace that disciplines, so that we might be one with him in the Holy Spirit, and one with one another.

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About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: crossroad-web.com 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください: crossroad-web.com
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