Final blessings 2 Corinthians 13:11-14

Final Greetings 2 Corinthians 12-13
Paul ends his second letter to the Corinthians in chapters 12 and 13 with a few reminders of things he has talked about before.

A promise that he will not be a burden on them
2 Cor 12 14 Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?

An exhortation to repentance
12:19 … We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. 20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.

A warning to those who are persisting in sinning
13 2 I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: on my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you.

A call to self-examination
135 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

But for tonight I want us not to focus on things we have talked about before but rather on the final three verses. Paul ends all his letters, as was the custom of the day, in final greetings and blessings.

2 Corinthians 13
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings.
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

So Paul ends his letter with words of blessing. Indeed he ended most of his letters with some words of blessing as was the custom of the time. We can learn a lot from the words Paul used to bless his readers. They show us the kinds of things we can pray for each other, as well as specific words we can use to bless one another.

11 Finally, brothers and sisters,
Despite all the disagreements, Paul still sees them as brothers and sisters
rejoice!

Rejoice NIV, NLT – or just Farewell/Goodbye GNB, NRSV
We have a here a list of five commands. The tense is present imperative – keep on doing these things, not just do them once. So it makes sense to read this command like the next four as a command and not just general greeting. Not just goodbye but “rejoice!”
Strive for full restoration,

Strive for full restoration, Put things in order (NRSV), make adequate, make perfect, grow to maturity (NLT) strive for perfection (GNB)
encourage one another,

Encourage one another or listen (to my appeals ) GNB NRSV
Be comforted / encouraged – a phrase Paul often uses
be of one mind,
live in peace.
And the God of love and peace will be with you.

12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
This is how families greet each other The form is not the issue, but the attitude. Believers are a family.

13 All God’s people here send their greetings.

14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

This is the one place where Paul puts together Father Son and Holy Spirit in positions of equality or equivalence. It tells us two very important things (1) Paul thought of the Holy Spirit as a person, just as Father and Son are persons and (2) Paul recognized God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit as fully and equally divine.

This is the most common benediction Christians use, in worship or prayer gatherings or even blessing each other when they meet one-to-one. So “the grace” actually comes from the end of 2nd Corinthians in 2 Cor 13:14,

14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
(cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9)

and the love of God,
(c.f. 2 Corinthians 5:18–21)

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Koinonia fellowship of, communion of OR sharing in NRSV

11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings.
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

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