Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Grace, Love and Communion


2 Corinthians 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

2 Corinthians 13:14 (AMP) The grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the presence and fellowship (the communion and sharing together, and participation) in the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen (so be it).


In today's observation, I quote "Barnes" in his commentary on this verse:

In regard to this closing verse of the Epistle, we may make the following remarks:

(1) It is a prayer; and if it is a prayer addressed to God, it is no less so to the Lord Jesus and to the Holy Spirit. If so, it is right to offer worship to the Lord Jesus and to the Holy Spirit.

(2) there is a distinction in the divine nature; or there is the existence of what is usually termed three persons in the Godhead. If not. why are they mentioned in this manner? If the Lord Jesus is not divine and equal with the Father, why is he mentioned in this connection? How strange it would be for Paul, an inspired man, to pray in the same breath, "the grace of a man or an angel" and "the love of God" be with you! And if the "Holy Spirit" be merely an influence of God or an attribute of God, how strange to pray that the "love of God" and the participation or fellowship of an "influence of God," or an "attribute of God" might be with them!

(3) the Holy Spirit is a person, or has a distinct personality. He is not an attribute of God, nor a mere divine influence. How could prayer be addressed to an attribute, or an influence? But here, nothing can be plainer than that there were favors which the Holy Spirit, as an intelligent and conscious agent, was expected to bestow. And nothing can be plainer than that they were favors in some sense distinct from those which were conferred by the Lord Jesus, and by the Father. Here is a distinction of some kind as real as that between the Lord Jesus and the Father; here are favors expected from him distinct from those conferred by the Father and the Son; and there is, therefore, here all the proof that there can be, that there is in some respects a distinction between the persons here referred to and that the Holy Spirit is an intelligent, conscious agent.

(4) the Lord Jesus is not inferior to the Father, that is, he has an equality with God. If he were not equal, how could he be mentioned, as he here is, as bestowing favors like God, and especially why is he mentioned first? Would Paul, in invoking blessings, mention the name of a mere man or an angel before that of the eternal God?

(5) the passage, therefore, furnishes a proof of the doctrine of the Trinity that has not yet been answered, and, it is believed, cannot be. On the supposition that there are three persons in the adorable Trinity, united in essence and yet distinct in some respects, all is plain and clear. But on the supposition that, the Lord Jesus is a mere man, an angel, or an archangel, and that the Holy Spirit is an attribute, or an influence from God, how unintelligible, confused, strange does all become! That Paul, in the solemn close of the Epistle, should at the same time invoke blessings from a mere creature, and from God, and from an attribute, surpasses belief. But that he should invoke blessings from him who was the equal with the Father, and from the Father himself, and from the Sacred Spirit sustaining the same rank, and in like manner imparting important blessings, is in accordance with all that we should expect, and makes all harmonious and appropriate.

(6) nothing could be a more proper close of the Epistle; nothing is a more appropriate close of public worship, than such an invocation. It is a prayer to the ever-blessed God, that all the rich influences which he gives as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, may be imparted; that all the benefits which God confers in the interesting relations in which he makes himself known to us may descend and bless us. What more appropriate prayer can be offered at the close of public worship?


As we take a closer look at this wonderful verse, I want us to begin to see that it is a picture, a snapshot if you will, of the spiritual development God desires for every Christian. The verse can be divided into three distinct parts:

1. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

The first phrase is "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ." Those who are sure of their salvation know that their spiritual journey began with the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without this marvelous grace we could not be born again and know God. Hence, the first part of this verse should be a picture of our first experience with the Lord. Paul refers to this first experience with the grace of God in Ephesians 2-8 when he says, "For by grace are ye saved."

2. The love of God

Once this grace touches our lives, we are hurled forward to the second part of 2 Corinthians 13:14, which is indicative of our second phase of spiritual growth as a Christian -"the love of God." There is nothing with which to compare the love of God that a new believer experiences when he or she has just been saved.

At that glorious moment when the burden of sin rolls away, you really know you are loved by God. I have often heard new believers say that when they were born again they felt as if they had been baptized in divine love It seemed so real at the moment that they were nearly able to reach out into the air and scoop it up with their hands.

This is one reason why it is such a joy to lead people to Christ. When brand-new Christians lift their heads and open their eyes, the look on their faces is worth more than all the money the world has to offer. Their faces gleam with joy because they know they are forgiven, cleansed, and that they

are new creatures. Most of all, they know they are loved.

The problem is that this wonderful sense of love is so real and so life-changing that new and immature believers often try to reproduce that same feeling over and over again throughout the years to come. Rather than move forward in their spiritual growth, they get stuck on past emotions.

While we must never lose "the wonder of it all," neither must we seek to relive past experiences which were never intended to be relived over and over again. We must not stop our growth because we want to recapture the feelings we had when we were born again. God wants to move us from "feelings" to walking by FAITH.

If you find yourself in this rut, it is probably past time for you to press ahead into another realm of spiritual development - "the communion of the Holy Spirit" (2 Corinthians 13:14).

3. The communion of the Holy Spirit

In this third phase you will come to know new power, new strength, new ability, new discernment and, yes, new and more mature spiritual emotions.

This spiritual maturity is the very thing for which your heart is yearning. In this third realm, you learn how to walk in the Spirit, move in the power of God, know the voice of God, have the mind of Christ, pray effectively, receive direction, be sensitive to Him and much more.

This third realm is where spiritual maturity begins - and it is available to everyone. That is why Paul prayed for the communion of the Holy Spirit to "be with you all."

The grace of God is where all this begins, and the realization of God's love is the foundation for everything we do. But this communion with the Holy Spirit is a launching pad for a life of supernatural power and consistency of godly character. Without this daily communion with the Holy Spirit it is impossible to live a victorious Christian life.

If your heart is saying, "Surely there must be more to the Christian life than what I'm experiencing right now," welcome to the wonderful place of spiritual misery! God ordained misery brings you to this third phase of spiritual growth.


"Lord, I am so thankful for the Grace of Jesus, the Love of the Father, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit. I want more in my walk with You. May I desire a deeper relationship with Your precious Holy Spirit today. In Jesus' name, amen!"