Chapter Sixteen Maranatha

This concluding chapter of 1 Corinthians seems to be some what prosaic and we may wonder why it has been preserved for us down through the centuries as part of Holy Scripture. We can easily understand that certain personal things would be of interest to the Corinthians, but would it make any difference to us if this chapter had been lost? Yes, it would, for these personal touches in the letters of Paul and other apostolic writers are what prove that the Epistles are not forgeries. Anyone trying to forge a letter to pass off on people as the Word of God would certainly leave out details such as we read here. The personal comments came bubbling up from the warm heart of the actual writer, who was in touch with all the people to whom and of whom he wrote.

The First Day of the Week (1 Corinthians 16:1-12)

The Christianity of Paul was very practical and so he wanted to help the many Jewish believers who were suffering greatly as a result of the prolonged famine in the land of Palestine and other parts of Syria. The apostle, moving around among the Gentile Christians in Europe where conditions were very different, convinced those converts that they should minister to the needs of their Hebrew brothers in Christ. The Gentile believers shared liberally and Christians have sought to imitate them ever since, thus demonstrating the unity of the church of Christ and the compassion of our Lord toward those in need.

In this passage Paul showed that he expected the Corinthian church to accept their responsibility to help their Jewish brothers. The Corinthians could not say, “Oh well, those folks in another land are not intimately related to us. If they have not been provident enough to lay their surplus aside during the years of plenty, why should we share our possessions with them?” Christianity demands that we recognize that “we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25) and if “one member suffer, all the members suffer with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).

In fact Christianity demands that we show deep interest even in men and women of the world who are not with us in Christ, for we are told, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). Obedience to this teaching has characterized the true church of God wherever there has been a cry of need. When nations, peoples, or cities are in distress, Christian people are the first to put their hands into their pockets and share with those who are in need. I wish that those who spurn the church, those who ridicule the message of the gospel, would bear this in mind. For example the Red Cross is a product of Christianity; its logo is the blood-stained cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Such practical ministries show that believers have the same love that animated our Savior when He came from Heaven to give Himself for a lost world. So Christians are to look out for those in need and seek to make things easier for them.

The apostle was careful to insist that collections be taken in a manner that was beyond reproach. He never set out to accumulate large sums of money for the poor without making himself accountable to someone. Otherwise he would have opened himself up to suspicion, and people might have said, “He used our money to feather his own nest.” So he said to the Corinthians in effect, “I do not want to be responsible for your money: I want you to gather your offerings in my absence.” He wished to have nothing to do with their “gatherings.” Instead he allowed the Corinthians to appoint men whom they trusted to take charge of the fund and to carry it later on to Jerusalem. He told them that if they wished, he would go with them, but he would not take the responsibility of handling the funds. That is a good principle, for many a professed servant of Christ has gotten into difficulty through soliciting and obtaining money for which he gave no proper accounting. We can all take a leaf out of Paul’s book when it comes to handling funds.

Paul was planning his work for the coming season, for he was not one to allow his schedule to be determined by haphazard opportunities. He planned to visit the Corinthians when he passed through Macedonia and possibly spend the winter with them. First, however, he intended to visit Ephesus and minister there until he moved on to Jerusalem. He was anxious to get to Jerusalem by the feast of Pentecost, the time when, years before, the Holy Spirit had descended and the church had been formed. Paul wanted to be there on that specific occasion, for it would give him a remarkable opportunity to present the gospel to the thousands of Jews who would come from all over the world to keep the feast. Many Christians would be there too so he also looked forward to having happy fellowship with them.

“For a great door and effectual is opened unto me,” Paul wrote, “and there are many adversaries.” God had opened a door for his testimony, but of course there were those who opposed him. No servant of God who is in the current of the divine will, ever has to hunt for open doors for witnessing; he simply needs to be obedient to the Lord. The trouble is that we are not all willing to let the Lord guide us. He has told us that it is He who “openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth” (Revelation 3:7). The business of the servant of Christ is to be in His will and say, “Here, Lord, I am at Your bidding. Open doors or close them as You will. If You want me to go, I will go; if You want me to refrain from going, I am under Your command and Your control.”

If the Lord opens the door, never mind the adversaries. They did not frighten Paul. He went forward, “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10), knowing that “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Notice Paul’s kindly interest in his younger fellow servant. “Now if Timotheus come,” Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.” I take it that our friend Timothy was a bit troubled with what psychologists call an inferiority complex. He was not constantly shoving himself forward; he underrated rather than overrated his own ability and Paul realized that because Timothy was so humble and lowly, there were some who might belittle him and set him to one side. Paul was saying, “He is my companion in ministry; he does the same kind of work that I am doing, so help him succeed.”

I think we can also learn something from the way Paul spoke of Apollos. Some folk have an idea that the apostles were the first bishops of the church, that they had all authority in their jurisdictions, and that the apostle Paul was an archbishop of western Asia and eastern Europe. If that were the case, he would have commanded the other Christian workers associated with him to go where he directed. He would have said to Timothy, “You go here,” and to Apollos, “You go there,” and they would have gone. But there is no hint of that in 1 Corinthians 16.

Paul did not occupy any such place of power; he did not lord it over other servants of Christ. Paul was a servant himself, subject to the Lord Jesus, and he recognized that the others were in exactly the same position. He would say a good word for Timothy, but he would not command him. Paul suggested to Apollos that he go to Corinth and minister to the believers there; he had been there before and they had been greatly benefited by his ministry. But Apollos said in effect, “I do not have any leading of the Lord to go there; at some later day I may.” And we can infer that the apostle replied, “Very well, it is not for me to tell you where to go; you are the Lord’s servant.”

Paul’s comments reveal the conditions that prevailed in the early church. There was no hierarchy dictating to the rest—just the various local assemblies of believers and the servants of Christ, gifted by the Lord and acting as subject to Him. I would not like to tear this chapter out of my Bible. It helps me understand God’s way of guiding His servants in their ministry for Him.

However, what Paul especially wanted to stress in this passage was “the first day of the week.” I would like to trace with you the place that the first day of the week had in the early Christian church and the place that it should have in the church of God today. Let us turn first to Leviticus 23, where we read about the seven outstanding Hebrew festivals, the feasts of the Lord. These were occasions on which the people of Israel came together in a special way, beginning with Passover and finishing with the feast of tabernacles.

In 23:10-11 we read: “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.” When was the sabbath? Verse 3 says, “Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.” The sabbath then was the seventh day. The feast of the firstfruits took place on “the morrow after the sabbath,” which was the first day of the week. And what was this feast of firstfruits? It was the feast that immediately followed the Passover.

What was the Passover? Its typical significance is explained in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8: There the apostle said, “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” The Passover was the recurring memorial feast of the death of the lamb. By the shedding of the blood and the sprinkling of the blood on the door posts and lintels in Egypt, the people were delivered from judgment, for God had said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:13). The Passover speaks of the death of Christ.

Following the Passover, the sheaf of the firstfruits was presented before the Lord. It spoke of grain that had fallen into the ground in death, but had come forth in new life. Jesus said, “Except a com of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24). He was the com of wheat who fell into the ground in death; He has come up in resurrection. The apostle explained in 1 Corinthians 15:22-23: “In Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” On the first day of the week the sheaf of the firstfruits was presented before the Lord, and this is a type of the resurrection of Christ.

In Matthew 28:1 we read, “In the end of the sabbath [the Greek word is plural and should be translated ‘sabbaths’] as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.” But they found that the Lord had risen in power on that first day of the week, that morning after the sabbath, and from that time on the first day of the week has had a very special place in the thoughts, hearts, and minds of followers of our Lord Jesus.

Psalm 118:22-23 prophetically sets forth the rejection of Christ and then His resurrection: “The stone which the builders refused [Christ’s rejection and crucifixion] is become the head stone of the corner [Christ’s resurrection]. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.” Men crucified Him; God raised Him from the dead, and thus made Him the Head of the corner. The Psalm continues, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (118:24). What day? The day when Christ was made the Head of the corner. It was the day of His glorious resurrection, the day of the presentation of the firstfruits, the first day of the week. Do you see what an honored place the first day of the week has in God’s Word?

Going back once more to Leviticus 23, we read: “Ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat [meal] offering unto the Lord” (23:15-16). This would be another first day of the week, and the feast would be Pentecost. And one year, on the day after the seventh sabbath following the Passover, which typified the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, while the disciples were gathered together in Jerusalem, “suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:2-4).

The day of Pentecost had “fully come,” and the Lord received to Himself a new meal offering in those that had been redeemed by His precious blood. It was on the first day of the week that the Holy Ghost came from Heaven to baptize believers into one body and so from that time on, the first day of the week has always had its special place in the church of God.

In Acts 20 we read of Paul coming to Troas and remaining there a week. Luke wrote, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight” (20:7). Scripture does not say that on the first day of the week the disciples came together to hear Paul preach; it says they came together to “break bread.” That is what they were accustomed to doing on that day; they came together to participate in what we call the communion service. On the first day of the week they took part in the breaking of bread and the drinking of the cup, which speak of the precious body of our Lord Jesus given up to death and of His blood poured out for our redemption. And when the disciples in Troas came together that night, they found they had a wonderful visitor ready to minister the Word to them. Many of them were slaves and had to work during the day, and so they came together at night. Paul participated with them in the meeting and preached the Word to them, and the service went on until midnight.

If you go back to the earliest records of those whom we call the apostolic fathers, those who wrote shortly after the New Testament was completed, you will find that it was still the custom of believers to gather together on the first day of the week for worship, for ministry of the Word, and above all for participation in what they called the Eucharist. They thought of the Lord’s supper as a feast of thanksgiving when Christians came together to give thanks to the Lord Jesus for the suffering and sorrow that He went through for their redemption.

Some people tell us that we are all wrong in recognizing the first day of the week as a special day for worship and praise, that we should Judaize Christianity and go back to the law of Moses, which made the seventh day holy. But the sabbath has been set aside with the old dispensation, for in the new dispensation God gives special honor to a new day, the first of the week. On this day the disciples came together to break bread. On this day the Holy Ghost descended. On this day Christ arose from the dead. And on this day the early Christians gave their offerings for the work of the Lord.

The apostle told the Corinthians to put aside their offerings at home, as God had prospered them, so that when they came together, they could give something to the Lord. They were to go over what they had received during the week to see how God had blessed them, and then give the Lord a part. Of course I take it that no Christian would give less than a Jew did, and he gave a tenth to God. Thus God would be given a tenth at least, and more if the Christians could afford it. So when they came together to break bread, they gave their offering to meet the needs of the Lord’s work and to care for the poor.

Yes, we can thank God for preserving for us the privilege of gathering together on the first day of the week. How we ought to praise Him that we live in a land that, in some sense at least, recognizes the sanctity of the day so that we are free to come together to worship and praise Him. How much we would lose were we to be denied this privilege!

Closing Messages (1 Corinthians 16:13-24)

There is something delightfully personal in most of the closing messages of the apostle Paul to the various churches. He was a very human man as well as a very spiritual one. Dr. C. I. Scofield used to say that when we are first converted we have to be changed from natural to spiritual, but after being saved awhile we need another conversion to become natural again—in a different sense of course. So many of us allow ourselves to become rather stilted and unnatural in our desire to be spiritual and we lose much of that sweet, gracious warmth that should characterize us as Christian men and women.

Paul was a man with a tender heart. He made deep friendships and never turned his back on a friend. He may have grieved over some of them who forsook him, but he continued to pray for them even when they turned away from him. Those with whom he could continue to have happy fellowship were a real joy to him.

In chapter 1 Paul mentioned that he had baptized the household of Stephanas and then in chapter 16 he told us something about that household. The household must have consisted of adults, for the apostle said that they were “the firstfruits of Achaia” and had “addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints.” The very first home to be opened up to the gospel when Paul went to Corinth was that of Stephanas. He and his family were brought to Christ and from that time on they ministered. Evidently they were in a position to help others. The word translated “addicted” in 16:15 is exactly the same word that is elsewhere translated “ordained.” So one could say that the household of Stephanas had “ordained themselves to the ministry of the saints.”

What a blessed ordination! Instead of constantly looking for other people to do things for them, it seems that they said, “We are going to do things for others; we will try to be a blessing to them; we will set ourselves apart to help God’s beloved people.” The apostle said to the Corinthians, “Submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth.” Like Epaphroditus, the household of Stephanas made themselves servants so that they might bless other people.

Stephanas himself had evidently launched out into evangelistic work, and he with others had come to meet Paul. Writing to Corinth fromPhilippi, Paul said, “I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied.” I take it that he meant, “I knew you wanted to send me something to help with my expenses but have not had opportunity to do so, but now these brothers have brought an offering and I appreciate it very much.”

When Paul was in Corinth, he would not take anything from them because they had just come out of heathenism and he did not want anyone to say, “Paul is just here for what he can make out of us.” Later the apostle even said, “I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service” (2 Corinthians 11:8). Others gave the money that enabled him to meet part of his expenses, and whatever he lacked he earned by tentmaking. But now that he had left Corinth, he was willing to receive from the Corinthian church a missionary offering to help him in his work. Like the Corinthians, we at home are glad to send our money to those laboring in heathen lands to help make the gospel known.

Paul did not have such great regard for “the cloth” that he would not soil his hands with manual labor. He went into business with Priscilla and Aquila when they lived in Corinth, and Paul stayed with them when he was there. Now they too were away and naturally sent their greetings back to the home church. Paul wrote, “Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.”

Then the apostle instructed the Corinthians, “Greet ye one another with an holy kiss,” for there is such a thing as a Judas kiss. In those early times women kissed women, and men kissed men, but whatever the prevailing custom is, the principle is the same. Do not profess to love someone when deep in your heart there is resentment and unkindness toward him or her. Greet each other with sincerity, for an insincere handshake is an unholy greeting. Let the heart behind the greeting be right. Said Jehu, “Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart?” And when Jehonadab said, “It is,” we read that Jehu “took him up to him into the chariot” (2 Kings 10:15). We need to get rid of hypocrisy in our fellowship. Paul wanted the Corinthians to be genuine in all things.

For the moment let us turn back to 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, where we will find Paul’s closing exhortation: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity [love].” How we need to heed this.

“Watch ye.” As long as we are in this world, we are in the place of danger; we are surrounded by pitfalls and snares. “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation,” said our Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 14:38). We dare not trust ourselves and we certainly cannot trust the world through which we journey.

Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?

Since I must fight if I would reign,
Increase my courage, Lord!
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy word.

(Isaac Watts)

One of the first principles of soldiery is to keep a sharp lookout for the enemy, and so we must be constantly on the watch for the enemy of our souls.

“Stand fast in the faith.” There are too many people who blow hot and cold; they act one way in one group and quite a different way in other company. But the servant of Christ, the child of God, should be one who realizes that there has been committed to him the greatest of all possible responsibilities and therefore he is to “stand fast in the faith.” The apostle wrote in 2 Timothy 1:14: “That good thing [deposit] which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” It is only in the power of the Holy Spirit that we can keep the faith.

“Quit you like men.” Some of the Corinthians were acting like babies, dividing themselves into little sectarian groups, and Paul told them they were childish. “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it,” he wrote in 3:2.

Whenever Christians fuss and quarrel about their rights, whenever they complain because they are not properly recognized or because people do not greet them as they think they should or because they do not get enough applause for what they do, their “baby” spirit is revealing itself. They have not yet reached spiritual maturity. May God deliver His children from their babyishness! In some churches half the time of the minister is spent trying to keep weak Christians from causing trouble over little slights.

The man who is “in Christ” is indifferent to praise or blame. If I belong to Christ, I am here to serve Him and if I have His approbation, that is what counts. And if you are living for God, people cannot slight you, because you will not let them; it will not make any difference to you if they try.

“Be strong.” You may confess, “I know I ought to be strong, but I am so weak.” Of course you cannot be strong in your own strength. Ephesians 6:10 says, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” The more you realize your own weakness and the more you throw yourself upon Him, the more you will be able to “withstand in the evil day” (6:13), for His strength is made perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).

You are not to be strong in your own human spirit, but you are to be made strong by the Spirit of the Lord. Note that the apostle said to the Ephesians, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.. .that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Ephesians 3:14-17). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ and He has come to dwell in you if you are a believer. If He is controlling your life and dominating your will, you do not need to depend on your own ability to stand; you can depend on His ability. As you are yielded to Him, you are enabled to be strong and stand for His glory.

However, you do need spiritual nourishment; you become strong through the Word. The apostle John said, “I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you” (1 John 2:14). How did those young men get their strength? By meditating on Scripture. If you show me a weak, wobbling believer, I will tell you that he is not giving much time to the Word of God. If you show me a strong, devoted, earnest Christian, seeking only the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, I will tell you that he is living on the Book. As you eat the Word, as you feed on the truth, you acquire strength that you cannot obtain in any other way. I get so tired of people lamenting their weakness and their leanness. They say, “Do pray for me that I may be a stronger Christian,” but what is the use of praying for them if they do not read their Bibles?

Suppose you said, “Do pray that I may get stronger physically,” and suppose that I replied, “What kind of food do you eat?” If you answered, “Not any,” I would say, “Then there is no use praying for you.”

What you need as a Christian is a good meal of spiritual nourishment and you can only get it in the Book. You may do all the praying you like to be a strong Christian, but your prayers will never be answered until you begin to answer them yourself by feeding on the Word of God.

But do not stop there, for you also become strong through obedience. The Lord told Joshua: “Be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:7). Notice the words “to do.” We are lacking in obedience when we know but do not “do.” Joshua 1:8 continues, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (italics added). Scripture consisted of only the five books of Moses when God gave that command, but today we should apply the directive to the whole Bible with its sixty-six books.

If you want to make a success of your life, that is the divinely-appointed way to do it. If you want strength, live in fellowship with Christ, walk in the Spirit, feed on His Word, and obey His Word. Then when the hour of trial comes, you will not be weak-kneed; you will not be vacillating; you will not be carried about like a leaf before the wind. You will have strength to stand, and you will be able to glorify God even in the fire of testing. In the testing is the proof.

It is easy enough to be pleasant,
When life flows on like a song,
But the man worthwhile is the man with a smile
When everything goes dead wrong.

The Christian who is really worthwhile is the man who can be bereft of everything—he can lose his money, his home, his health— and still say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). That is the kind of Christian God wants you to be—strong in the hour of trial, and strong in the hour of temptation.

I am afraid that many of us keep from falling into various sins because they never come very close to us, and then we look with contempt on the person who does fall when stress comes. If we had been exposed to the same temptation that that poor failing brother or sister was exposed to, we might have succumbed just as he or she did. We too would have fallen if we had not been kept by the mighty power of God. It is only by living in fellowship with God that we will be kept from yielding.

Someone has said, “I can resist everything but temptation.” A good many of us are like that. If you go through the Book of God, you will find that the men who could resist in the hour of temptation were the men who knew God before the test came. If David had been in fellowship with God when his awful temptation came, he never would have gone down. Joseph was tempted under far more adverse circumstances and he stood fast, exclaiming, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9) Our Lord could say, “I have set [Jehovah] always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8). The man who resists temptation is the man who is strong in the Lord before temptation comes.

Paul finished his closing exhortation to the Corinthians by adding, “Let all your things be done with charity.” There is always the danger that the strong will be contemptuous of the weak. Be exacting with yourself, but generous in your judgment of other people; be very, very strict with yourself, but gracious in dealing with those who are weak. Consider what they have to contend with. Perhaps they do not know the Lord as well as you do, so seek by grace to show the love of Christ to them.

Moving now to the end of the chapter, we find a solemn statement in verse 22: “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” What strange expressions, “Anathema” and “Maranatha”! I think the Holy Spirit of God providentially allowed our translators to leave those two peculiar words untranslated. “Anathema,” a Greek word, means “accursed, devoted to judgment.” “Maranatha,” a Syriac word, means “the Lord comes.” If you translated the entire verse, it would read like this: “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be devoted to judgment at the coming of the Lord.” I wonder whether any of my readers do not love the Lord Jesus Christ. If not, may the Spirit of God help you realize your danger.

The Lord has not yet returned, so if you do not love Him now, there is still time to turn to Him. You cannot stir up any love in your own heart, but you can trust Him—the One who loves you, the One who gave Himself for you, the One who died on the cross for your sins. You can open your heart to Him, receive Him, and bow at His feet in repentance. Hide nothing; confess your sins of hypocrisy, or dishonesty, or immorality, or selfishness, or covetousness—whatever wickedness there may be in your heart. Tell Him all about it.

Do not say, “O Lord, I am not much of a sinner; I never did many things that are wrong, but please forgive me.” Get into the company of David who, when his conscience was awakened, said, “O Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great” (Psalm 25:11). We might have expected him to say, “It isn’t very great, so pardon it,” but he said, “It is great.” Sin is such great iniquity that only a great God can pardon it and only a great Savior can deliver you from it.

As 1 Chronicles 28:9 says,” If thou seek him, he will be found of thee.” In Jeremiah 29:13 God said, “Ye shall…find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” If you turn to the Lord, honestly face your sin, acknowledge your guilt, trust Him as your Savior, and confess Him before men, He will put love in your heart. Then you will be able to say, “I love Him, my Savior, my Redeemer,” and you will be saved from judgment. You will be able also to enjoy all the benefits of Paul’s closing benediction: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

After his benediction the apostle added so humanly, “My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.” We could well respond, “Thank you, Paul. We are glad to get this message from you and when we get home to Heaven, we will look you up and talk it over together. Until then we will seek to live in the light of the truth we have found in this Epistle.”