Necessity of Love in Fellowship

Studying this week the close of 1 Corinthians in chapter 16:12-24. Paul encourages the church to stand firm and to do everything they do in love. This is to be the community of believers, the church, local and global in love.

Martin Luther profoundly wrote how amazing this community of love can be, as our reward, in his Sacrament of the Body of Christ.

“True fellowship is divine and heavenly; it is the noblest, surpassing all the others as gold surpasses copper or lead; it is the communion of the saints, in which we all are brothers and sisters, so near to one another that greater nearness could never be conceived. For there is one baptism, one Christ, one sacrament, one meal, one gospel, one faith, one Spirit, one spiritual body, and each one is a member of the other; no other brotherhood is so deep and close.

But if you say, “Unless I get something through the fellowship, of what use is it?” The answer is, “You serve the community and other peoples as love does, and you will have your reward without any seeking or desiring it.” Love serves freely, which is why God in return also gives to it every blessing, freely and without charge. Because all things must be done in love if they are to be well-pleasing to God, the community must also be in love. Yet what is done in love can by its nature not seek its own; instead, it seeks the benefit of others, and especially the congregation. As you find your trust in Christ and his dear saints growing in strength, your certainty grows of their love toward you, and how they will stand by you in all the troubles of life and death. Therefore your love goes out to each one and you desire to help everyone, hate no one, suffer with all, and pray for all. Again, if you take to heart the shortcomings and lapses of all Christians and of the whole church or the fall of any one, and your love is given to them all, so that you would readily help anyone, hate none, sympathize with all, and pray for them, then all is well.”

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