2 Corinthians 13:7–14 (NKJV)
7 Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete. 10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction.2 Corinthians 13:7-10
Paul finishes up this letter to the Corinthians with a justification for his words of correction. Paul’s number one concern is for the edification, preservation, and salvation of the people of Corinth. He is not looking to assert his authority due to a hunger for power, but rather to guard the hearts and souls of his disciples. He wants to build up the church, not tear it down. He is willing to rebuke and correct in order to achieve this goal, but he would rather see them live strong and grow on their own initiative. This does not always happen organically, but–like a master gardener–Paul seeks to pull the weeds and cultivate the ground in order to make the young plants stronger. This is the work of the overseer/pastor.
11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.2 Corinthians 13:11-14
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
13 All the saints greet you.
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Paul gives them one final admonition: be complete! This is equal to the Old Testament terminology from which we get the English word “perfect.” Job was a perfect man, etc. It literally means complete or mature. He then explains what that completeness looks like: comforted, united, peaceful, loving with the love of God. He then repeats his normal instruction to greet one another with a holy kiss, and then offers greetings from his traveling party. Paul then blesses them with the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. This benediction shows Paul’s honor of God, and his love for the church. This is a bittersweet farewell and benediction, for it sums up a letter that contains rebuke and blessing. This is how a parent lives, and it is how an overseer lives. Bless always, and–when necessary–correct and discipline. They are both for the good of the church.
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