not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only.
Christians are to be concerned for the needs of others. Those Christ has died for cannot live for themselves. Christianity is faith in action and that means love at work. So the writer draws attention to something of what it means to live in love.
Christian Leadership (13:7–8)
The concluding section of the epistle contains a number of small, disconnected units. From love the writer passes to a few thoughts about Christian leaders. This is important, for there is not much in the NT about the way Christians should treat their leaders. There is, however, more about how leaders themselves should behave.
Christian Sacrifice (13:9–16)
The writer has put strong emphasis on the centrality of Christ’s sacrifice and keeps this steadily in view as he approaches the end of his letter. He has some erroneous teaching in mind, but we cannot define it with precision. He and his readers both knew what it was, so there was no need for him to be specific. Whatever it was, the unchangeability of Christ should inspire them to refuse its curious diversities and novel teaching.
Once more the writer draws attention to Christ’s sacrifice, using the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement as the basis. Some may have thought the Christian way an impoverished one, lacking the sacrifices that were central to religion in the ancient world. But Christians do have sacrifices, none the less real for being spiritual and not material.
Christ willingly offered himself as a sacrifice to the Father, and this was fully pleasing to him.
The apostle’s point is plain. Christ’s handing himself over to death for his people was the supreme demonstration of his love for them. Because he is both the ground and model of their love, costly, sacrificial love is to be the distinguishing mark of their lives.359 To serve others in this way is not only to please God; it is also to imitate both God and Christ.