Grace, Love, and Communion

The apostle Paul wrote thirteen of the books of the New Testament.  These books are actually letters that he wrote to churches or to individuals.  In each of these letters, he closes with a blessing that he gives to the church or individual.  A typical blessing is like the one in Romans 16:20b “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  Amen.”  However, I am greatly impressed with the blessing he gave at the end of the second Corinthian letter.  2 Corinthians 13:14 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”  Let us analyze this blessing.

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  It is good to meditate about the grace that God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ have for you.  Grace is the friendly disposition that God and Jesus have, demonstrated in their loving-kindness, mercy and blessings given to you.  Grace is sometimes described as unmerited favor.  What if God was not a gracious God?  What if instead He was always your enemy and had nothing kind or good to give you?  If that were the case, there would be no salvation, no hope, and no joy.  But praise be to God and Jesus Christ that they are full of grace towards you.  Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”  Even though mercy is a very important part of grace, you must not think that grace is limited to mercy.  1 Corinthians 1:4-7 “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  You are enriched in everything through God’s grace.  Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Through grace, you find help in your time of need.  2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”  God’s grace gives you everything you need to accomplish every good work.

“The love of God.”  Closely associated with grace is the love that God has for you.  The greatest scripture that tells us of God’s love is John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”  Romans 5:5-8 “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  The extent of God’s love is demonstrated by His love to you when you were sinful and separated from Him.  Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”  The relationship between God and you is described as the relationship between a loving father and His child.  1 John 3:1-3 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”   Nothing can separate you from the love of God.  Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

“The communion of the Holy Spirit.”  The word translated communion can also be translated fellowship as in Philippians 2:1-2 “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”  As a Christian, you have the Spirit of God in you.  Romans 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”  As a child of God, you should be led by the Spirit.  Romans 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”  The Spirit helps you in your weaknesses and intercedes for you.  Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”  You have fellowship with the Holy Spirit; you have the Spirit within you and that Spirit leads you in your life.  How wonderful to have the Spirit of almighty God within you and leading you!

The blessing given by the apostle Paul to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 13:14 is the ultimate blessing.  Nothing can be greater than to have these great blessings from Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit.  Now I send these blessings to you.  May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you always. Amen.  Be greatly encouraged and filled with joy.