By Brooke Holt
“Now I urge you, brothers—you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints—be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer. I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people. The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.” - 1 Corinthians 16:15–24
The great hope of every Christian is the second coming of Jesus Christ. Earlier in this letter, Paul encouraged the Corinthians with resurrection promises. Chapter 15 lists the promises of resurrected bodies and eternal life with the Lord. But as we wait for Christ’s return, we struggle with the flesh, with sin, with anger, with unforgiveness, and with divisions among God’s people. Yet, we wait with hope and assurance that the Lord will come and fulfill every one of his promises (1 Corinthians 15:28, 49, 55).
Paul ends this letter with that great hope and prayer: “Our Lord, come!” (16:22). Paul hoped that Jesus would return in his lifetime, and we still wait with hope and expectation today. The day is drawing near (Hebrews 10:25). The good news is that Christ’s return is closer today than it has ever been! Paul wanted God’s people to embrace that hope for the future while living faithfully today—and every day until the final day of the Lord.
How should we wait? Paul packs the last few sentences of his letter with reminders of how we should wait for the Lord: be devoted to service, be subject to your leaders, rejoice in one another, receive God’s refreshment through others, greet one another with love, live in God’s grace, and keep your hope set on Christ. The grace of Jesus Christ helps us give and receive these blessings from one another, and the promises of the Lord anchor our hearts in knowing that he will come again.
As believers, we wait together. Paul calls us to love one another, encourage one another, and bind our hearts together in the grace of our Lord Jesus. As we seek to lead others to the saving knowledge of him, may we all join the prayer of Paul and all of God’s saints: Our Lord Jesus, come!
How are you doing with these final instructions of Paul? How does your life reflect God’s grace? How can you extend that grace to others? Is your heart set on the hope of Jesus’s return? What does God want you to know while you wait? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Resurrected Life: Making All Things New - The Bible promises that those who are in Christ are "new creatures." But how does that transformation take place? This unique Easter-season small group Bible study provides a space in which we can discover what it truly means to live a new life. As we listen, we'll learn how the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything - for us. Begin the journey to new life today!
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