A Confident Conclusion With an Ebullient Benediction

When reading the apostles’ letters to those of us who are the saints of God, you can tell they took great care with their words. Not only did their epistles open with powerful words, the main bodies of their letters maintained or even increased in power and their closings were equally as powerful. Take, for instance, Paul’s closing in 2 Corinthians. Despite the spiritual challenges the church presented to him, here are Paul’s closing words in 2 Corinthians 13:11–

Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

There were some negative situations occurring, but in the end Paul seemed to feel confident about their ultimate end. He wanted them to fare well in their endeavors and shared the following commandments that would help them to do just that:

  1. Be perfect: This was a call for them to follow through to correct the remaining spiritual ills that held them back. He pushed for them to become even more like the Lord. He had high hopes for them to aim for the highest good.
  2. Be of good comfort: In contrast to the church causing him great concern, he wanted them to experience the Lord’s comfort. By commanding this, he was showing them that his rebukes were done out of love for their spiritual benefit. Their genuine comfort could only unfold as they made notable strides to be perfect in the things of God. They would then have the comfort of knowing that whether they eat, or drink, or whatever they would do, it would all be to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
  3. Be of one mind: Paul called on them to lay aside self-centered, self-exalting aspirations in order to cling to indisputable sound doctrines inherent in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This would give them a huge advantage as a united front whenever they would have to pull out their weapons of warfare to cast down imaginations and every high thing exalting itself against the knowledge of God that he warned them about in chapter 10.
  4. Live in peace: Exercising peace with God brings peace with fellow believers. That peace also alleviates an obsession with worrying over challenging situations in life. Peace with God and among believers also helps the saints focus on how to properly deal with evil entities.

As these four items become the focus of believers individually and corporately, believers have the assurance that God, the God of peace and love, will be with them and in them since all believers are the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16). Paul knew the Corinthians could accomplish these things because they had already proven themselves by making some of the changes he pointed out in his previous epistle, such as dealing with the man who was in an incestuous relationship with his stepmom.

With his benediction in 2 Corinthians 13:14, Paul highlighted what would bring about the successful fulfillment of the things in v. 11 above–

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

The Lord’s grace, love, and communion of the Holy Ghost as well as the things mentioned in v. 11 are all put into effect when believers humble themselves in faith. What a blessing it is when we place ourselves in the position to experience verses 11 and 14.

(Featured image: Raft wild by An en Elain at Flickr.com used under Creative Commons license 2.0)

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