Pastor's Blog

Grace, Love, and Fellowship

Χάρις, Ἀγάπη, καὶ Κοινωνία


"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (2 Cor 13:14, ESV). 

Pastor Matthew L. Tinkham Jr.

I want to personally welcome you to my weekly church blog! I hope it will be spiritually enriching for you to read. I have named this blog, "Χάρις, Ἀγάπη, καὶ Κοινωνία" (Charis, Agapē, kai Koinōnia), which is Greek for "Grace, Love, and Fellowship." It comes from the beautiful Trinitarian benediction that appears at the end of Paul's second letter to the Corinthians. Paul comforted the Corinthian Christians (and us today!) that "the God of love and peace" would be with them (2 Cor 13:11, ESV). Who is this God whose character is that of love and peace? Who is this God whose presence will be with us always wherever we go? He is none other than the one God of heaven who is manifest in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
          At the conclusion of 2 Cor 13, Paul prayerfully blessed his readers with a Trinitarian blessing. It is a threefold blessing, one blessing with three parts, just like the God we love and serve who is one God in three persons. Paul appealed to each one of the persons of the Godhead to provide a particular part of this threefold blessing. He called upon the Lord Jesus Christ first to give us χάρις (charis) or "grace." By Jesus's death on the cross, a substitutionary atoning sacrifice was provided so that we could be the beneficiaries of such marvelous grace. And now, at this very moment, Jesus is in the holy of holies of the heavenly sanctuary, applying the gracious benefits of his death to each and every one of us. And as we receive, both individually and corporately, Jesus's grace, we are declared righteous and stand justified in the perfectly meritorious righteousness of Christ.
          Next, Paul called upon God the Father to shed upon us the wonder of his faithful ἀγάπη (agapē) or "love." God is love (1 John 4:8, 16), and he profoundly loves faulty and frail human beings, such as us. How incredible it is that God passes over our sins and reaches down to touch us with his love, to make us his sons and daughters! But this love is not only to be kept for ourselves. Yes, God pours his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5) for our own assurance and also so that we can love others with his divine love.
          Finally, Paul prayed to the Holy Spirit for the blessing of κοινωνία (koinōnia) or "fellowship," "communion." The Holy Spirit is the one responsible for calling us into the body of Christ, growing and maturing us, gifting us with talents and skills to edify one another, and unifying us together as one church, all in effort to create fellowship among us.
          I pray that each one of these blog posts will help to encourage "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit" to thrive in your life (2 Cor 13:14, ESV).

In His service,

Pastor Matthew L. Tinkham Jr.

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