“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14). This familiar verse is often used as a benediction in church services, but it is more than a benediction. It is Paul’s summary of everything he has been teaching the Corinthians about God’s love.

1. The grace of Jesus Christ
Paul says grace will “[teach] us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:12). In order to live holy and pure lives, we need the Holy Spirit to shine on our souls the foundational truth of this doctrine. Thank the Lord, he doesn’t judge us according to our condition. Instead, he judges us by our position. You see, even though we’re weak and sinful, we’ve given our hearts to Jesus, and by faith the Father has seated us with Christ in the heavenlies.

2. The love of God
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Although these verses are commonly interpreted as being about believers, it’s God’s love that never fails! His is a love that is unconditional and never gives up. The love of the almighty God is indescribable.

3. The communion of the Holy Spirit
The Greek phrase Paul uses translates as “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.” At first, the Corinthians knew nothing of such fellowship, as the church was rampant with individualism. Paul even said of them, “Each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas,’ or ‘I am of Christ’” (1 Corinthians 1:12). They were using their spiritual gifts to serve only themselves. The deepest work of the Holy Spirit deals with more than spiritual gifts, however. He seeks to establish fellowship among God’s people by his unifying power.

The measurement of Christ’s grace and God’s love in your life is determined by your willingness to be in full unity and oneness with the whole body of Christ. What does it mean to have unity and oneness? It means removing all jealousy and competition, and no longer comparing yourself to another. Instead, everyone rejoices when a brother or sister is blessed. And all are eager to give rather than take. Only this kind of fellowship truly reveals Christ’s grace and God’s love.