by John McIlvenna
And the God of Love and Peace shall be with you 2 Cor 13:11
God is a tremendous reality in the world around us. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” Psalm 19:1. He keeps the world spinning at the required rate to give us day and night in perfect peace and harmony. The moon circles the earth with nothing but God to keep it in space. The sun stays still and gives light and heat to the whole earth. He made all of us. He gives us life, health, rain and sunshine filling our hearts with food and gladness (Acts 14:17).
Most of all, He gave us His Son who is co-equal and co-eternal with Himself. The birth, life, death and resurrection of His only begotten Son is more precious to God than the whole universe. “The Father loveth the Son.” John 3:35. We cannot comprehend (with our finite minds) the oneness of the Godhead nor the greatness, majesty and power of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no limit to His wisdom, understanding and ability to do anything.
Through His sufferings and death, He provided life for all of His redeemed people whom He cleansed by His precious blood. He is the Prince of Peace. “And having made peace through the blood of His cross.” Col 1:20. He taught His disciples to follow His teaching, commandments and example. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15. All of His disciples who responded to His loving entreaty to follow Him, gathered together to form the first local assembly of His people in Jerusalem to bear a testimony for His name.
He later raised up Paul to go and teach men and women about the precious truths of the gospel and to gather them together to form local assemblies of His people expressing something of the Bride of Christ in each locality. The assembly at Corinth is one of the assemblies that Paul planted and taught in the right ways of the Lord.
The will of God for the saints at Corinth was to gather together to form the House of God at Corinth and be an holy temple of the Living God (2 Cor 6:16). Satan sought to destroy the holiness of the temple of God and introduce evil doctrines and practises amongst the gathered saints of God (2 Cor 11:3). He succeeded in many ways, by dividing the saints, bringing fornication into the Holy Temple of God, introduced false teachers who denied the resurrection and therefore became enemies to the Apostle and his fellow workers.
Paul, having laid aside their difficulties gives them an exceedingly high farewell and wishes for them the very best for the rest of their pilgrim pathway.
“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Greet one another with an holy kiss. All the saints salute you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” 2 Cor 13:11-14.
The Almighty Creator is a tremendous reality in the local assemblies of His saints. The triune God is active at all assembly meetings. “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. (1 Cor 12:4-6).
If all the saints at Corinth were in fellowship with God, they will also be in fellowship with one another and in perfect peace and unity. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Cor 1:10. The expression, “perfectly joined together” also describes the disciples who were “mending their nets” Mark 1:19. It requires faith and diligent exercise of heart before the Lord to mend all breaks in their fellowship. “But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him. Lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.” 2 Cor 2:5.
This perfection is not ‘sinless perfection’. The word means ‘to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair; to complete’. Epaphras prayed for the saints at Colosse. “That ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Col 4:12. This completeness refers
to keeping all of the sayings of God that proceeded out of the mouth of Christ, especially His new commandment. “That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 13:34. Brotherly love is essential to assembly life and testimony for the Lord. (1 Peter 1:22)
“Be of good comfort”
These words mean, “Exhorting, comforting and encouraging one another.” Paul encouraged the Thessalonian believers, “Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” 2 Thess 2:16. The Lord Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit and said, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Joh 14:26. When the Comforter is not grieved (by disobeying His word) and not quenched (by refusing to do the things He teaches us through His word), He will give us joy (John 15:10- 11), and comfort our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil 2:1).
“Live in Peace”
Every saint in Christ Jesus has peace with God. However, God gives the ‘Peace of God’ to every child of God who takes everything to God in prayer (Phil 4:6-7), and obeys His teaching. James said, “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” Jas 3:18. Peace is essential to the assemblies of His saints and God gives peace to all who love Him and do what He says. “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1Cor 1:3. The Lord Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” John 14:27. Paul taught the saints at Rome and Ephesus, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Rom 14:19. “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Eph 4:3
“The God of love and peace shall be with you”
The Spirit of God indwells every believer. “Another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” John 14:16. In addition to the comforter, all of His saints who obey His sayings enjoy the abiding presence of God. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” John 14:23. John had a clear understanding of the Lord’s teaching for assembly fellowship and said. “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:3-7. John had forsaken all to follow Christ. He lived in fellowship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit doing and teaching all of the commandments of God (1 John 3:22). The Father spoke His commandments from His Throne (John 15:15); Lord Jesus told them on earth (John 12:49-50) and written by the Holy Spirit in the Bible (2 Peter1:21). If we walk in the light of the Word of God with no darkness or disobedience at all, God gives a wonderful fellowship with one another. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” 1 John 5:2. Our personal spiritual condition will be, “Charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned” 1 Tim 1:5. Our fellowship will be characterised by, “Love, joy, peace,longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Gal 5:22-23.
We will experience the reality of the last verses in 2 Cor 13. “Greet one another with an holy kiss. All the saints salute you. The (1) grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the (2) love of God, and the (3) communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” Each of these three wonderful blessings will come to all saints who diligently seek Him. “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Phil 4:10 J. McIlvenna