“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14
This morning I wanted to pick apart this familiar greeting that is used in the bible and still now in some churches. The first time I read through it on my flip calendar I didn't think much of the phrase since I grew up in church receiving this greeting every Sunday and holy day.
But, there is a great amount of meaning tied up in this greeting and I am sure in the early church the meaning behind the word was not trite but rather profound as each part of God and rolled off the tongue of the speaker pronouncing the complete glory of God.
As Christians we believe in the trinity, that is God is three in one. Each part of God has a certain role and therefore in the greeting above each part of God is emphasized. To make the context of this verse even more relevant, I have listed some verse below each part of the greeting to emphasize the greater magnitude of the part.
Here they are:
“grace of the Lord Jesus”
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace...” Ephesians 1:7
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God...” Ephesians 2:8
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace...” 2 Thessalonians 2:16
“...that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:7
“love of God”
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: 'Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.'” Jeremiah 31:3
“I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them.” Hosea 11:4
“fellowship of the Holy Spirit”
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:13
“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:10
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26
Now that we have the greater context of this greeting, doesn't it just leave you in awe of the great God who not only extends so much grace towards us, and unrelenting lovingkindness towards us, but also desires to daily fellowship with us? As the Christians who used this greeting knew, and as we should now know, God wants to surround our lives with His presence, inside and out. And, in greeting fellow Christians we have the duty to remind one another of the surrounding presence of God so that this world does not pull any of us away from God's perfect and divine relationship with us. Today as you keep in mind the all encompassing grace, love and fellowship God provides in your life, make a point to remind those around you that they too have access to that same awesome relationship with God as you have and then don't waste a moment to draw upon that relationship yourself.