"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." - 2 Corinthians 13:11
At the end of a letter full of words of encouragement but also of correction, even scolding and stern warnings about the consequences of sin, Paul concludes with these exhortations about how the members of a Christian congregation should relate to one another.
Rejoice! Keep your eyes on the good blessings that we have been given of forgiveness, salvation and deliverance, not on your own, or others’ failures.
Aim for restoration! The purpose of all we do is to see people restored to a relationship with God, marriages restored and healed, friendships restored by forgiveness, and broken lives restored in Jesus. Always keep this goal in mind.
Comfort one another! The world is full of people who will kick you when you’re down. Let the church be full of comforters.
Agree with one another! Be in agreement with one another. Strive together for the same goal. Work harmoniously with each other as fellow servants of Christ.
Live in peace! Let it go; give up insisting on your own way. Overlook offenses with a heart of forgiveness. Be at peace with one another.
And the God of love and peace will be with you. All of this works, not due to our own effort but because God is at work in all of our hearts. If by following the Apostle’s advice we will allow the Holy Spirit to bring about the atmosphere of peace and love that He wants, we will have a church where the will of God is done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Lord Jesus, rule in our hearts here in this place. Let your Kingdom come to us and reflect the love and peace of heaven as we live and work together. Bless us, Lord, with Your healing, restoring, comforting presence. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles