How Aiming for Restoration Fuels the Kiss of Love
Does your church have goals? The apostle Paul prescribed an important peacemaking one for the church at Corinth in 2 Cor. 13:11. Aim for restoration.
Recently I’ve been writing about the kiss of love (1 Pet. 5:14) as a gospel grace for guarding unity in the church.
In the first post I explained how the gospel shapes our community with oneness when we engage one another intentionally by greeting with the holy kiss of love.
In the second post I emphasized how rejoicing in the Lord is the first of four things Paul proposes for motivating the practice of greeting one another with a holy kiss.
Another factor in guarding unity through practicing gospel greeting is setting our church sights high for what Paul calls “restoration.” This matters a great deal for all churches but especially for those marred by a history of conflict.
Aim for restoration. He used a form of the same word back in v. 9. Your restoration is what we pray for.
The idea behind the word is to be made complete, whole, perfect in the sense of mature, put thoroughly in order. It’s used in the gospels for the mending of nets and in the culture for setting a fractured bone.
The same root appears in Eph. 4:11-12 concerning the role of gifted people in the church to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry so that the body can be made whole and mature.
See also Gal. 6:1-2 where it applies to helping restore spiritually someone trapped in sin. We might translate it mend your ways.
The Corinthian community lacked in so many ways. Paul exhorts them to set their aim high at cleaning up their act. Make right the wrongs. Get their ducks in a row. For just one example, consider 2 Cor. 12:20.
For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.
Now there was a church with a lot of work to do in cultivating a culture of peace! Paul exhorts them not to settle for such a distorted form of community but to aim for something far superior.
In my next post I will share a number of concrete ways a church can aim at the perfect in this all important virtue in our gospel-shaped community.
You won’t likely offer the holy kiss of love to some member of the body you’re fighting with. You’re more likely to hide from them in the cave so as not to even make eye contact.
God help us to aim higher!
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