2 Corinthians 13:14
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Dear Heavenly Father,
This blessing Paul wrote is a powerful blessing filled with your grace, love, and fellowship. When we hear these words concluding a sermon or service, we think of it as a period marking a statement’s end, on to the next thing for the day. Perhaps this blessing keeps a transition, not a conclusion but a beginning. When we hear how our sins condemn us, we quickly realize nothing we can do on our part will ever save us from those sins; we desperately need a Savior. Jesus is our redeemer, and it is at the foot of the cross where we receive his grace. He willingly went to the cross to suffer for the world’s sins and took them into himself. Despite us being your enemies, Jesus came to live the life we could not live and suffered our punishment. This grace is the undeserved love you, our God, have for us. Your love, we cannot fathom how deep it goes for us. Love is not a feeling, but it is a reaction. When a person is irritating, annoying, self-centered, ungrateful, bossy, moody, and whatever other word we can use to describe ourselves, you still love us. You still care and provide for our every need, and you make sure we know you; you give us your Word. Through the Word, faith begins. The Holy Spirit begins faith in us to believe Jesus has forgiven us, to trust our sins are removed, and we are restored to you in fellowship once again. We have been made heirs of salvation because of your salvational plan for us. There was no other way to restore us but by Jesus’ suffering and death. This blessing we hear at the end of the sermon or service gives us the grace to realize this is the beginning for us. You indeed bless us. Please allow us to bless others in the same way, so they will come to know you and realize Jesus has died for their sins because of your love for them, and they too are in your fellowship because of faith started by the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Written through Pastor Roger Emmons
Grace, love, and fellowship not only are these things that God wants you to have but also describe who he is and where he begins with us. So the next time you hear the benediction from Paul, remember, this is not a conclusion but the beginning.