2 Corinthians 13:9-14

In 2 Corinthians 13:9-14 Paul wraps up his second letter to the church at Corinth. He’s readying for a trip to visit them knowing that there would be some difficult conversations and direct truth to be delivered. Paul’s hope is that the people in the church will be restored. Sin creates a divide between us and God. It gets in the way of relationship and ultimately will prevent us from entering eternal life with Him unless we deal with it and are restored through faith in Christ. That’s what Paul is praying for these folks – that they will be restored to right relationship with God. “For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.”

Paul writes this letter to try and get the church to mover toward repentance so his time with them may not be filled with conflict, but rather with joy. “For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.” Paul knows he can’t ignore what’s happening in Corinth, but he’d rather not have to come and be the heavy handed minister that preaches fire and brimstone and uses authority as a club to force people to repent and find their way back to God. He’d love them to take care of their sinfulness before he arrives.

Paul’s goal is that the church will be made complete and be built up, not torn down. Paul wanted to build up the Corinthian Christians, to make them a complete and Christ following body.  They were already a body strong in spiritual gifts and personal testimony.  But their strength was not complete.  They were not like a building that was just a foundation and a bit of rubble.  They were like a building built tall and strong – for one and a half walls, with the other walls crumbling or barely started.  Paul wanted them to be made complete. That meant addressing and rooting out sin wherever it existed.

Paul ends his second letter on a positive note. He wants joy for the church. And he tells them exactly how to achieve it. “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” God puts the church in place because as humans we’re meant to live in community. And the Christian life is not a solo experience but rather should be lived with others. Paul is coming to help make that a reality. “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Ultimately, all of us fall short without grace and having the Holy Spirit live in us and through us!

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