Paul concludes of reprimand and love. We know this isn’t the last of his communication with this group of believers as the first part of this book actually came after our reading today. But this letter was difficult to write and therefore difficult to close on a positive note. Paul does it with love and a sincere hope of restoration.
Have you ever had to write a letter, email, or text that had a strong message? I have. I find myself rewriting it many times before I’m comfortable with the message I’m trying to convey. I wonder how many times Paul had to rewrite his thoughts. One of the hardest parts is trying to find a way to close out your thoughts without being condescending or going back on your original intent of the message.
Paul’s first words would of closing would have had me scratching my head; “Finally, brothers, rejoice” (verse 11a). “Yah, right after you just gave me a final warning you tell me to be happy?” But Paul wasn’t aiming for their physical happiness in this statement. He was looking towards their spiritual happiness AFTER they accepted his message.
“Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace” (verse 11b). These were the things he was calling for them to do throughout his letter. This was a synopsis of their instructions with, “and the God of love and peace will be with you” (verse 11c), as their reward for such changes.
As hard as this letter was to write it was necessary to bring this body back into line with Jesus’ message. The division of the body over leadership and sexual sin were tearing them apart. The whole body was in jeopardy if it continued on.
Paul’s final words stressed how the complete Godhead was invested in this church’s health and unity. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (verse 14). Each person of the Godhead supplied another aspect to the building up of this church.
Jesus contributed grace. His sacrifice bought and paid for our forgiveness. He provided the grace we didn’t deserve. God contributed love. His love was what put the whole plan of creation AND salvation in motion. Without His love for us He would NEVER have asked His Son to sacrifice Himself for us. He would have walked away and left us in our own sin. But He LOVED us. The Holy Spirit contributed fellowship. The Holy Spirit is the one who lives within us continually and unites our hearts with God. He is our relationship/fellowship bridge. Without His presence we would only access God from afar. Jesus laid the bridge with the cross but the Holy Spirit moves back and forth upon that bridge on a continual basis, keeping our fellowship with the Father strong.
Thank You Father for Your love. I would have been forever lost without it. Thank You Jesus for Your sacrifice that provided grace for me. I DO NOT deserve it but You gave it to me anyway. You gave it out of love, just as strong as Your Father’s love. Thank You Holy Spirit for filling me with the Father’s presence. I am never alone because You keep our fellowship alive. I screw up that relationship SO many times but You bring me right back to it and restore it again as if it was new. Thank You for loving me enough to go through that process again and Again and AGAIN. Thank You ALL for restoring me to what You intended from the beginning. Please keep me growing in the right direction; closer to You every day. I Love You and long to make You proud of me.