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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 83 - 2 Corinthians 13:14 - Apostolic Blessing Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius


This is one of Paul's fullest blessings; none could be fuller; for it takes us to the divine fountainhead, and opens upon us the threefold spring of heaven, bidding it gush forth upon us in all its fullness. He takes us to a greater rock than that of Horeb, and touching it with his rod, calls on the water to pour itself out, not in one channel, but in a threefold course, and with a threefold fullness. All heaven is in this wondrous blessing; all Godhead is here, with the infinite and everlasting stores of Father, Son, and Spirit.

The order of the persons is not here the same as usual; perhaps to teach us, that in so far as blessing is concerned, that order is unimportant, and that we may go to any of the three persons for blessing without respect of order; or perhaps because Paul began with the usual form, "the grace of Christ," and then went on to the others; for generally he blesses them in the name of the Lord Jesus alone. Beginning with Christ, he goes on to the rest. In this full blessing the apostle's heart flowed out to these beloved Corinthians. For what could he say more? What could he ask more?

If Father, Son, and Spirit communicate their fullness, is not that enough? Our poverty, our narrowness, our worthlessness, our want, our sin, are nothing in the way of drawback or hindrance. Nay, their greatness does but the more magnify and draw out the resources of the infinite Jehovah, all whose stores are thus placed at our disposal, and within our reach. The depth and breadth of the river's channel do but display the more the vastness and the brightness of that water which fills it; and that water, descending from the clouds in snow or rain, is inexhaustible. The creature's or the sinner's wants are but occasions for unfolding the riches of the love of God.

Now, let us mark the three points in this blessing. Yet in doing so, notice that the apostle specifies nothing in these three petitions. Elsewhere he does. He asks, for instance, joy and peace; he asks an increase of faith and comprehension; he asks light and wisdom; he asks comfort and strength. Here he specifies nothing; and yet he asks for more than if he had done so. All that the grace of Christ can give; all that the love of God can give; all that the communion of the Spirit can give,—all that can be given! What a prayer! What a blessing! Amen! So let it be.

I. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a frequent prayer of the apostle for the brethren. The free favor of our Lord and Master rest upon you; of Him in whose favor is life; of Him who is full of grace and truth (Romans 16:20, 24, I Corinthians 16:23). His favor! Yes; that is enough; for all heaven is in it. He on whom that favour rests, has all the sunshine of heaven compassing him about. That favor is presented in all its gladness to each one of us. Will you have the favor of Christ? He is willing to bestow it; and he who consents to take it, gets it at once. It is pressing for entrance into our souls, like the light which is beating on our windows every morning. Let it in. You need no more to make a heaven upon earth. You may not have man's favor,—and you certainly shall have Satan's hatred,—but if you have this heavenly favor; you need no other. If you have this love, then the darkness is past, and the true light shineth; the day has broken, and the shadows fled away. O grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! What can we lack if we have thee? And which of all the dark, sorrowful sinners of earth can need be without thee? Does not Jesus say to thee, O man, come unto me?

II. The love of God. The word love expresses something yet wider, fuller, deeper, than grace. God is love; and thus it is the very thing which belongs so peculiarly to God,—this divine, perfect, glorious love, that is here pleaded for in our behalf; not simply favor but love,—full-hearted, overflowing love; love which not only secures against all possible evil, but bestows truly and only good,—the best of the best,—that which God himself selects as His choicest gifts for His beloved ones; for our name is, "Beloved of God" (Romans 1:7). It is as if he had said, All heaven, and no more than all heaven, be with you; that which gladdens angels, and pours sunshine over the universe, be with you. Of this deep deep well of love let us be ever drinking; in this bright sunshine of love let us be ever basking; in this fair heaven of love let us be ever dwelling. We have much of it here, we shall have more of it hereafter. Amen!

III. The communion of the Holy Ghost. The word communion means, partnership; or it may signify that fullness of which we are partners; that communicated or distributed fullness which dwells in the Holy Spirit, and which flows out of Him to us. In and through the Holy Ghost we have the community of feeling and of possession,—that common property of all things which is our heritage, as men believing in the name of the Son of God. All that is in the Father and in the Son,—all that is in Godhead flows out to us through the Holy Ghost. This is the ever-welling fountain out of which not only is the soul's thirst quenched, but by means of which it is filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

(1.) What joy and peace are here. The threefold joy and peace coming from Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This is our daily portion, our life-long possession, our eternal heritage. Let us enter into it more and more fully each day. It is enough; and he who has it, hungers no more, neither thirsts any more.

(2.) What consolation is here. We need consolation in this troubled, stormy, sorrowful world. We need to hear, "Comfort ye," from the lips of God, for it is through much tribulation that we must enter the kingdom. There are many points at which the comfort pours in, many minor sources from which it flows. But here is the great fountain of divine consolation.

(3.) What power for work is here. Here is the secret of our strength in all work, or endurance, or suffering for God. Grace, love, and communion! And all this every moment. What influence over others will this give us! How it will make our faces shine! How it will purify and transform us! Let our daily life be that of men who possess all this fullness.