2 Corinthians Chapters 11 through 13
Paul at the end of 2 Corinthians gave us some final instructions that are really the summary of the entire letter that he wrote. “The grace of our the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.” This is like the troubleshooting instructions that are the end of the instruction manuals that you get when you buy something new. If it is not working, the first thing to check is the power source. Plug it in. This is the trouble-shooting section for our Christian faith. If it is not working the first thing to check is the power source. Is it plugged in? What Paul was saying is that grace, love, and communion with the Holy Spirit are the key ingredients that make our faith really work.
Grace is the perfect balance between mercy and truth. Mercy or truth by itself can be dangerous. Too much mercy can cause someone to be tempted to mock God. Too much truth can be hurtful. But, grace is the perfect blend between the two. It means to speak the truth but to do it in love. Grace is the summary of the entire New Testament. The last verse of the entire bible is, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen.” Grace is getting what I don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting what I do deserve. God is a God of grace and mercy. I need them both every day.
Then there is God’s love, which is referred to as agape love. Agape love means to love someone in spite of what they do. All other loves are based on loving someone “because of what they do.” Agape love is based on God’s eternal reservoir of love, which can never run dry. Experiencing this kind of love causes great pleasure or delight. It is actually emotionally healing. It is possible for us to say we love everyone but not necessarily like everyone. We experience personality clashes with people. Not so with God. The love of God means that He actually likes being around you, ALL the time! The closest thing that relates to this kind of love is parental love. It wasn’t until I started having children that I really began to understand agape love. Your love for your child is so deep it can even overcome their bad behavior! This is the way it is with God. His love for you is all encompassing. When you know the love of God it will lead you to repentance. In Romans 2:3 we read, “It is the love of God, which leads men to repentance.” Rules without relationship bring rebellion. God has rules for us to live by but He wants to have a relationship with us. Relationship brings obedience from the heart. As I get to know God, and how much He loves me, I am motivated to serve Him more.
Then there is “communion with the Holy Spirit. A person does not know God until he begins to have communion with His Holy Spirit. At best, a person will know ABOUT God, but that is not the same as knowing Him on a personal basis. The Holy Spirit is God. He is not God the Father or God the Son, but God the Holy Spirit. Just because He is named third does not make Him any less than the Father or the Son. The Holy Spirit is a person just like you and me. Contrary to popular opinion, the Holy Spirit is not an “IT.” Without communion with the Holy Spirit, there is no life but rather a religion with a set of rules. Without communion, it is impossible to understand the intent and heart of the Bible. Communion means to become one with. It means fellowship which is a two-way sharing whereas, for many, prayer is just one-way. In Acts 15:28 we read, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us.” They were sharing their ideas with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit was sharing His ideas with them.
Grace, love, and communion, are you experiencing them?