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Summary: Paul’s final appeal in this letter is a call for unity. In the first nine chapters he addressed the majority of the Christians in the Corinthian assembly. In chapters 10 - 13:10, his words were directed primarily to those who questioned his integrity. In

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THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:

In the church there is a bond of family, yet room for variety. The devil tries to disrupt unity. To chickens tied at the legs and thrown over a clothesline may be united, but they do not have unity. (Leslie Flynn, Great Church Fights - Swindoll’s Book of Illustrations, p. 599)

Paul’s final appeal in this letter is a call for unity. In the first nine chapters he addressed the majority of the Christians in the Corinthian assembly. In chapters 10 - 13:10, his words were directed primarily to those who questioned his integrity. In fact, he is not even certain if these are true believers. But now in his closing statement the apostle turns his attention once again to those who really love and appreciate him, as he calls them "brethren" (v. 11). The apostle sees beyond all the fragmentation in Corinth to the basic unity of the church. God created that unity. Christians belong to each other. They are part of the family of God and Paul says they ought to act that way.

Paul now summons these Corinthians to be mature, content, and in unity, which has not been a characteristic of the Corinthian assembly. He urges them to enter into the comfort of the Lord and reminds them of the availability of divine love and peace. Such unity was to be exhibited with a "holy kiss." Since ancient times this kiss has been a form of greeting and a gesture of love and fellowship. However, it was usually exchanged between members of the same sex.

In closing, the saints with whom Paul was staying at the time he wrote I Corinthians send their greetings (v. 13). Paul also included the blessing of the triune God so that the grace manifested by the Son, the love expressed by the Father, and the fellowship created by the Holy Spirit might be experienced in Corinth (v. 14). This is one of the clearest references to the Trinity found in the New Testament.

APPLICATION:

As a Christian, if I am depending on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, walking in the love of God, participating in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and not walking in the flesh, I will be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem. That is the kind of a Christian I want to be.


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