«The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen» (2 Corinthians 13:14).
PAUL CONCLUDED his Letter with the symmetrical blessing that encompasses the grace of Jesus, the love of God, and the communion of the Spirit. It is more than a farewell greeting; it is the blessing of the fullness of the Deity.
As we close our reflections about the two Letters to the Corinthians, let us remember Paul’s struggles in defending the message, the mission, and the church. Some of the brethren questioned the apostle, as they considered him to be no more than a rabble-rouser pastor. That is why Paul presented his credentials:
He was commissioned by God: 2 Cor. 1:1, 21; 4:1.
He spoke sincerely about the power of Christ: 2 Cor. 1:18; 4:2; 2:17.
He acted with holiness, sincerity, and dependence on God: 2 Cor. 1:12.
He was objective and candid in his letters: 2 Cor 1:13, 14.
He had the Holy Spirit; he was filled with the power of God: 2 Cor. 1:22; 13:4.
He loved the believers: 2 Cor. 2:4, 6, 1l; 11:11.
He worked among them and transformed their lives: 2 Cor. 3:2, 3.
He lived as an example for the believers: 2 Cor. 3:4; 6:3, 4; 12:6.
He never gave up; he endured pain and dangers in the mission: 2 Cor.4:1,16; 11:23-33.
He taught the Bible with integrity and authority: 2 Cor. 4:2; 10:14, 15.
Christ was always the center of the message: 2 Cor. 4:5.
He suffered persecution in proclaiming the gospel: 2 Cor. 4:8—12; 6:4-10.
He was Christ’s ambassador: 2 Cor. 5:18—20.
He lived and evangelized with purity and patience. 2 Cor. 6:6.
He was reliable and filled with the power of God: 2 Coz 6:7.
He remained faithful to God under all circumstances: 2 Cor. 6:8.
He never wronged or corrupted anyone: 2 Corinthians 7:2; 11:7-9.
He promoted offerings responsibly and irreproachably: 2 Cor. 8:20, 21.
He did God’s work with God’s weapons, not his own: 2 Cor. 10:1-6
He was sure that he belonged to Christ: 2 Cor. 10:7, 8.
He always rejoiced in the Lord, not in himself: 2 Cor. 10:12, 13.
He was blessed with a surprising vision: 2 Cor. 12:24
He was constantly humbled by a thorn in his flesh: 2 Cor.12:7-10.
He performed miracles among them: 2 Cor. 12:12.
He worked to strengthen the faith and maturity of believers: 2 Cor. 12:19; 13:9-
He passed the test: 2 Cor. 13:5, 6.
These were the credentials presented by Paul and should be ours as well. It may not be easy, but is there any other way?
“Salvation is free, but discipleship costs everything we have” (Billy Graham).