By: Andrew Arnold Executive Director SROM
As the Apostle Paul closes out his second letter to followers of Jesus at Corinth he writes these final words. I have always read these words as a concluding prayer of Paul over the Corinthian church. These words come at the end of a letter where Paul is often frustrated and harsh with the believers in Corinth. Yet, it is one of the fullest concluding benedictions or blessings of all Paul’s letters. It is almost as though the entire letter he wrote in the preceding chapters is summed up in this one sentence. Paul is encouraging, declaring, praying over the people that they would experience and enjoy the grace, love and fellowship of the Trinity. Through the years, I have prayed this verse over my life, family, spiritual family and those in my sphere of influence. For me this short verse captures the heart and purposes of God for His children.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. This is the heart of the gospel. The grace of Jesus empowers us to be like Him. Without the grace of Jesus we have nothing. We are poor in every way without the grace of Jesus and yet because of His grace we have all things! “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9 The response is to freely receive! My prayer becomes, I receive your supernatural, all sufficient grace right now that empower me in all things! It is the grace of Jesus that makes a way to receive the love of God.
May the love of God be with you all. It is the love of Abba that leads us to repentance and life. It is the love of God that sustains all things. I need God’s love on a daily basis. I need to continually experience and more fully enjoy the love of Abba in an ongoing way. The love of God is not static or something of the past. It is dynamic and ever present. My heart and spirit can interact and commune with the love of God or grow hard and cold and push away God’s love. I want to be aware of God’s love and open-hearted to receive His love. In my own life, I am father of three amazing children. Our relationship, interaction and communion is reciprocal. If I come into the living room or sit down at the table to be with them and spend time together they have a choice to reciprocate my initiative. They can choose to listen, respond, ask questions, laugh, cry, love and play with me. I have created a space to be with them but it is still their choice to be with me. In the same way, the Father has created access and an intimate space to be with Him, through the grace of His Son Jesus. However, it is still my choice to receive that grace and step toward the Father’s arms and heart to receive His love and attention. Yet, in choosing to receive grace and experience love the deepest longings and desires of my heart are met in Him. So my prayer is that I would move toward the Father’s presence to freely receive and enjoy His love.
May the fellowship and intimacy of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Fellowship is a powerful word. Paul uses the Greek word, koinónia. It is a word that denotes intimacy, communion, shared life, joint participation and community. Paul is praying that God’s people would enjoy a deep and life changing fellowship and communion with the Holy Spirit. Similar to the love of God, the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit is not static nor historical. The influence and presence of the Holy Spirit is dynamic, ever present and empowering. Paul’s prayer is that God’s people would enjoy a close intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit. So my prayer also is that I experience the communion, shared life, joint participation and intimacy of the Holy Spirit. It is transformative when I live in deep connection with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Father and Son’s gift to us while we still live on this earth. I want to enjoy the gift while I’m here!
Today and in the coming days, weeks and months I want to encourage you to pray this verse over your life, family and sphere of influence. As you pray, personalize the words and allow the Trinity to strengthen and empower you with Their grace, love and fellowship.