I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Let anyone be accursed who has no love for the Lord. Our Lord, come! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus. (1 Corinthians 16:21–24, NRSV)

The first of these sentences will strike many present-day readers as needlessly abrasive. Why, at the conclusion of a letter appealing for love in the community, does Paul feel the need to pronounce a curse on those who do not share his passion for the Lord Jesus? The question is an important one, because it reminds us of the substantial attention that Paul gives in this letter to the call for community discipline (see especially chapters 5 and 6). The Christian community as a community of love is not infinitely inclusive: those who reject Jesus are not and cannot be a part of it. There is great danger to the church, in Paul’s view, when some people represent themselves as Christians while rejecting the apostolically proclaimed gospel. In Galatians 1:8–9, for example, Paul pronounces a solemn curse on those who proclaim “another gospel.”

Richard Hays, 1 Corinthians (Interpretation)

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