Day: January 21, 2023

The Benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14) (Part 2)

1.3 The Grace of Christ

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is the demonstration of God’s Love for our Salvation. The word “Grace” and “Graciousness” have the same root in the Greek. “Grace” is God’s free and unmerited favour towards the undeserving and ill-deserving. The word “Grace” is frequently used in the Bible. It is mentioned more than 50 times in Paul’s letters to the Romans, Corinthians, and Ephesians. Three important facts about “Christ’s Grace:”

Christ’s Grace is intimately related to God the Father’s Love. The Law is derived from God’s Holiness, Righteousness and Goodness:

  • Christ’s Grace is from God’s Love, a manifestation of His Love, God’s Love is prepared for our hearts, but Christ’s Grace is for our Need.
  • The Purpose of Christ’s Grace is to show God’s Love. Because God Loves us, He works for us and sends His Son {Jesus} to us to accomplish the Work of Redemption so that we may receive Christ’s Grace for the Forgiveness of Sin – Ephesians 1:7 “In Him (Christ) we have Redemption through His (Christ’s) Blood, the Forgiveness of Sins, according to the riches of His (Christ’s) Grace.”
  • Everything that God does is Christ’s Grace. It is His Expression of His (Father’s) Love for us (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:5, 2:4-5, Titus 3:4).

Christ Grace is manifested in Faith. Since it is Grace, it need not be worked for; no self-work is required of us except to have Faith; in fact this Faith is also God’s impartation – Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by Grace are ye saved through Faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a Gift of God – not of works, lest any man should boast.” This is the basis and manifestation of Christ’s Grace (Romans 4:4-5; 11:6).

How is Christ’s Grace obtained? The Law was given through Moses, but Grace and Truth come through the Lord Jesus Christ – John 1:17 “For the Law was given through Moses, but Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ.”

  • The Law came to us through Angels and Moses, but Grace came through God Himself via Jesus (2Timothy 1:9-10; Ephesians 1:6; Titus 3:4; John 1:17).
  • The Law is an addendum (addition) outside Christ, but Grace is the Design in Christ.
  • Whether Christ’s Grace has been given to us in Time or Eternity, God’s Grace is received in Christ.
  • Christ’s Grace comes with Joy. The root word in Greek for Grace (Charis) and Joy (Chairo) is the same showing a close connection between Christ’s Grace and Joy; not “happiness,” as “happiness,” comes from “circumstance, situation, happenstance.”  

Believers in Christ do not only receive God’s Forgiveness of our Sin, but also other Blessings like being set free from Sin, being Protected, being Healed, and being lifted in Hope – this is “the joy of the LORD is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b).

1.4 The Love of God

In English, one word is used to express “love.” But in Greek, there are different words:

  • Erhós, refers to sexual, base, and immoral love. This word is never used in the Bible though commonly found in classical Greek.
  • Phileó, refers to human and emotional love like the love of friends, sibling, and parents – the reply of Peter to Jesus question (John 21:15-17).
  • Agapaó, refers to the noble and pure of God’s Love. The greatest expression of Love is to “give.” John 3:16 says “For God so loved (agapaó) the world that He gave His only begotten Son….” God expresses His Love for humanity by “giving” His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God the Father’s Love (Agapaó) is describes in 1Corinthians chapter 13:4-8a “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” God’s Love “cast out fear” (1John 4:18); and nothing can separate us from the Father’s Love (Romans 8:35, 37-39). God’s Love is immeasurable (Ephesians 3:18-19). God’s Love acts as “His Shield” upon us (Psalm 5:11-12). His Love cannot fail (Psalm 36:5-7). The Fruit (single) of the Spirit: “Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” – Foundational is LOVE.  

1.5 The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

The word in the Benediction “Fellowship” means “having Communion.” It signifies the kind of relationship like that of the Partnership in business, with the single purpose, to achieve the common aim. Thus “Fellowship” (koinonia) means:

  • Having Communication: The Holy Spirit by His Presence gathers all Christians together to Fellowship. He offers Spiritual Gifts to each Believer so that we might share and minister to each other, and to the World (1Peter 4:10,11; 1Corinthians 12; Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:11-16).
  • Taking Part: The Holy Spirit enables us, in 2Corinthians 8:1-5, Paul mentions that the Church of Macedonia was willingly taking part in the Work of the Saints by contributing their giving. “Taking part” is translated from the same word as “Fellowship” and “Communion.”
  • Being in Partnership: The Holy Spirit enables us, having the same aim and determination. Philippians 1:5 puts it as “Partnership in the Gospel.” This is the encouragement that all Churches should take.

1.6 Amen

“Amen” is used at the end of a Prayer. It means “let it be so” is incomplete. The term “Amen” essentially means “it is faithful” or “that is true” – Revelation 3:14b (KJV) “These things saith the Amen (Jesus), the Faithful and true Witness.” The word “Amen” appears 175 times in the Bible, 25 times in the Old Testament and 150 times in the New Testament. The word “Amen (Verily, Verily)” is used 25 times in the Gospel of John and Jesus used the word “Amen (Verily, Verily)” 101 times. The word “Amen” was used by the Children of Israel in the time of Moses. It does not only signify the end of Prayer, but also the urgent wish of the Person who Prays. A few clarifications from the Bible help us to understand the usage of the term “Amen:”

Faithful – “Amen” means “Faithful” or “Truthful” as in one of the many Sacred Names of God and our Lord Jesus Christ – Revelation 3:14 “And unto the Angel of the Church of the Laodiceans writes: These things saith the Amen, the Faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the Creation of God.” It shows that God is Faithful and Trustworthy. Deuteronomy 7:9 and Isaiah 65:16 tell us that God is the Faithful and Truthful God.

Steadfast – Since God is Faithful, His Covenant is also Steadfast. “Steadfast” in the Old Testament is one of the meanings of “Amen”

  • Isaiah 55:3 “I will make you an Everlasting Covenant, my Steadfast (Amen) sure love of David.”
  • 2 Corinthians 1:20 “For all the Promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the Glory of God by us.”

Obedient – Obedience signifies a vow, willingness. In the Old Testament, it indicates that “Amen” is also used during vow-taking. For example, in the latter part of chapter 27 of Deuteronomy, several times the word “Amen” is used as a response to indicate the willingness of the People to accept blessing/punishment. The same use of “Amen” is found in the responses by the woman and the people in Numbers chapters 5 and Nehemiah 5:12-13

Unity – The Church is the Body of Christ. Believers can express their Unity through the declaration of “Amen.” During the Service a brother/sister may lead in Prayer, but the Prayer represents the Prayer of all Members of the Body and we express our Unity by saying “Amen.”

Deep Expression – In the four Gospels, our Lord Jesus often uses “verily, verily” as an adverb to emphasize what He says. In the original “Amen” is used (Matthew 5:18, 26; Mark 3:28; 8:12; Luke 4:24; 12:37, etc)

Strong Confident – Revelation 22:20 “Amen, Come, Lord Jesus.” The “Amen” is like the Signatory on the Document – Unalterable and Unchangeable. In the same way, the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is sure, reliable, and unalterable.

1.7 Exhortation

In conclusion, the Benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14) is given at the end of each Worship Service by the Senior Pastor/Pastor to bless the Congregation, trusting that they would depart to share this blessing with their families and others. Therefore, it is beneficial for the Congregation to stay behind to receive this “Benediction-Blessing.”