Words of Faith 1-5-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><
2 Corinthians 13
 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.  For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.  We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection.  This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority--the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.
Ending this letter was not really an easy task. Almost there, Paul gave a few last points that reveal very much his heart. Paul had dealt with some very difficult issues and warnings. His next visit did not look like it would be pleasant. He had called upon the Corinthians to take a very hard look at themselves and determine if they were really walking in the faith. So how do you leave things after that?
Paul committed himself in prayer. Prayer really is the place to leave such matters. It was Paul's prayer that the Corinthians would repent and begin to behave in accordance with the Spirit of Christ. This was not for his benefit but for theirs. He was not concerned with what people thought of him, only that they would find the path of walking with Jesus in His grace.
Paul was confident in his motives and means of ministry. He knew that he and his colleagues could not do anything against the Truth of Christ Jesus. They lived to honor the Truth of Christ. Their prayer was for the perfecting of the Corinthians. His correction and threat of discipline was completely motivated by love.
He was praying for their perfection. The word that Paul used here is a powerful one. It literally means "restoration" or "thorough equipment.” Paul was not calling the Corinthians to perfection in the sense of some legalistic code of conduct. He was calling them to be restored to genuine faith in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was calling them to be restored in their walk with God and to be thoroughly equipped for all that God wanted to do through them.
Paul's goal was never to tear down the Corinthians, only to build them up! He wanted to see them strong and vibrant in their faith exercising the power of God as they experienced the grace of Jesus. The last thing that Paul wanted was to be harsh in his use of authority. If necessary, he would do what was called for. But his prayer was that the Corinthians would hear his heart and be restored to grace.
What a powerful prayer for the Body of Christ. Our prayer should not be for the "perfect church" or for "perfect people" but for a restored church full of restored people who are thoroughly equipped. Our goal should never be to tear down the Body of Christ but only to build it up as we see people restored and whole in Him.
How about that? Can we be in prayer for the perfection of one another? For the restoration of believers and thorough equipment? I think so. That is a good place to leave things.
Father God, restore me. Make me whole and thoroughly equipped for Your will and Your work. Cause me to be complete as I walk with You. Bring restoration and equipping to the Body of Christ everywhere. In Jesus' Name.