How Striving for Peace Fuels the Kiss of Love
A church at odds will not likely have many of its folks practicing the gospel virtue of greeting one another with the kiss of love (1 Pet. 5:14). Perhaps that’s why Paul finishes the way he does in the passage under consideration in this latest series of posts.
After emphasizing the role of joy, wholeness, submission and agreement for enhancing the practice of greeting with a holy kiss in 2 Cor. 13:11-12, the apostle Paul ends with one final factor.
“Live in peace.”
Rejoice, aim for restoration, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace.
So many texts of the New Testament point us to this last virtue. Consider Heb. 12:14:
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
It is the duty of the church to strive for peace, to work hard at peacemaking, as those shaped by the gospel of the ultimate peacemaker, Jesus, who reconciled us to God (2 Cor. 5:18).
Notice the sweet promise with which Paul finishes for the church that prizes these five things: and the God of love and peace will be with you.
The God who supplies love and peace, given that’s His nature, will abide with the church in a special way with that love and peace. Of course inherent with the promise comes the warning that to fail to do these things means He will withdraw the same.
If we consistently do these things–rejoice in God, aim for perfection, submit to godly, gospel-laced, Bible-saturated authority, agree on the truth, and strive for the peace of our church–we stand to excel as one holy kissing bunch of believers!
Not that I necessarily want to say that you go out and from now on do the peck on the cheek thing. But as a rule something more may befit us than the token handshake of our culture.
Holy hugs (men with women and vice versa remember – side hugs or A-frame only) capture a whole lot more of the spirit of what the Bible teaches here than the casual wave or minimal greeting.
Let me leave you with this one thought. If the idea of giving someone else in the body a holy kiss seems unpleasant, even repugnant to you, you more than likely have some peacemaking to do.
Determine to rely on Jesus’ peacemaking power and the gospel’s impetus to help you engage others with a holy, tangible intimacy.
Greet one another with the kiss of love.