FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON THE TRIUNE GOD
LOVE, GRACE AND FELLOWSHIP
June 19, 2011
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Paul ends his second letter to the Corinthians as follows: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you.” (2 Cor 13:13). This is one of the clearest Trinitarian passages in the New Testament.
God is Trinity–three Persons in one God. The Trinity is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They have different roles–Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. In this passage, we also see that they manifest different critical aspects of Christian life–love, grace and fellowship.
God is love. In what is possibly one of the most important verses of the Bible, we read, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16). God created the whole universe and our first parents out of love. To love is to share, and God shared Himself with His creation. He intended for our first parents to live eternally with Him in heaven. But paradise was lost. So God looked to how He could continue to love and effect His plan for humanity. He did it by sending His own Son Jesus into the world. By our faith in Jesus, we can re-enter paradise or heaven.
We in turn are called to respond also in love. We are to love God, and we are to love our neighbor. When we live out these two commandments, we can be assured of making it to heaven.
In the world, we live by the grace of Jesus, freely given by him. Apart from God’s grace we could never live a life pleasing to him and thus make it to heaven. Grace enables us to live a life of holiness, “that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Heb 12:14b). So Jesus saved us so that we will have the opportunity to enter heaven, and he gives us the grace by which we can be holy so that we will indeed enter heaven. “He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began.” (2 Tm 1:9).
Further, since we live in a valley of tears, there will be many challenges in our walk with God, both in becoming holy, and also in serving Christ. Since we are weak, we can only depend on the strength of God. What in fact happens is that, because of grace, our weakness leads to power. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9a). Thus we can look to what is outside of us, to what comes from God, to what is designed to allow us to truly live the Christian life. And so Paul exhorts Timothy: “So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tm 2:1).
God provides further support for our Christian walk, and that is Christian community. This is where we experience the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, in and through our brethren. On our own, even with the abundant grace of Jesus, we would find it very difficult to walk in God’s ways. We need mentors, pastors, counselors, teachers, co-workers, encouragers, and so on. These we find in community, where we have committed our lives to the Lord and to each other.
The Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost. There the Church was established. The disciples lived a communal life. They had formation, the Eucharist, worship, sharing of resources, meetings (Acts 2:42-46). They became effective witnesses to Christ, and they were able to do rapid and massive evangelization (Acts 2:47).
Visualize it this way.
|Trinity||Roie||Aspect of Christian life||Fruit|
|Father||Creator||Love||Love of God
Strength to serve
|Holy Spirit||Sanctifier||Fellowship||Communal life
We then are a people of the Triune God, and that has such a profound and diverse meaning. We are loved by the Father, who sent His own Son, who then won for us salvation and pours out upon us his grace and his Spirit, who then enables us to live a communal life together for the sake of the gospel and making known the love of God to the world. It comes around full circle.
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