Paul writes the thirteenth chapter with strong language, but out of love. He writes with the authority that God has given to him. It is the authority of one of the first bishops of the Church Jesus has established. So this authority did not die with Paul; it goes on to this day. This authority is founded by Jesus in establishing the seats of bishops (10), so the authority is not just to an individual. It is set up in the office of bishop Jesus established. This authority is very real and Paul makes no bones about it. But it is all for the greater glory of God.
Obedience to the faith is important. Not living the virtues of the faith allows our enemy, Satan, to exercise the ancient curse and all the evil that comes with it. That is what Paul is warning them about. God is constantly holding back the evil that Satan, in his jealousy, would do to us. In God’s love for us, every moment of our lives, God protects us. Satan cannot do anything that God does not permit. But God is also just, and cannot allow injustice to go unchecked. Especially, for those whom God loves so much, God does allow to suffer. It is not something He enjoys, but rather, is something that keeps us close to Him and keeps us from hurting each other. So allowing us to suffer is an act of love for us.
Paul says it would be the third time to come to visit (1). He has shown patience and kindness, but there are some still in their sins. Paul is urging them to a serious examination of conscience (5). He wants them to take an honest look at their behavior and correct anything that God would find offensive. For those who refuse to repent, God has given the authority to Paul and the Church to correct such behavior (1-2).
Yet, at the same time, you also see a language of love for his spiritual children (12:14). Paul is not writing as if he is going to enjoy seeing his own spiritual children suffer (10). No, Paul is pleading with those who are continuing their evil ways. Paul is very relieved by those who have repented (7). He wants all his spiritual children to make it to heaven. He wants everybody to love each other and care for each other (11). These are the rich blessings in following God’s ways. Obedience to God brings blessings.
How good it is when children get along and play well with each other. We are God’s children. How He rejoices when we not only get along, but when we love one another. How good it is to the hearts of parents when they see and hear their children doing good for each other, having patience and caring for each other. How much more joy it would bring our Heavenly Father when we are good to each other with patience and kindness. Paul shares in this joy as a spiritual father.
The Father in heaven is always happy to bestow blessings upon His children. But imagine how quickly He would bestow them on those who bring such joy to His heart. How happy He would be to bless those who want to bring His graces to His other children. Paul desires to share this blessing too. He imparts his fatherly blessing upon them as his last parting words (13). How many priests and pastors have this very same fatherly blessing in their hearts; the people of God love one another. Let the blessings begin! “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all!” (13).