14. “The grace of the Lord Jesus.” He closes the epistle with a prayer, which contains three clauses in which the sum of our salvation consists. In the first place, he desires for them the “grace of Christ,” secondly, “the love of God,” and, thirdly, “the communion of the Spirit.”
The term grace does not mean, here, “unmerited favor,” but is taken, by metonymy, to denote the whole benefit of redemption. The order, however, may appear to be, here, inverted because the “love of God” is placed second, while it is the source of that grace and, hence, it is first in order. I answer that the arrangement of the terms in the Scriptures is not always so very exact. But, at the same time, this order, too, corresponds with the common form of doctrine which is contained in the Scriptures – that, “when we were enemies of God, we were reconciled by the death of His Son” (Romans 5.10), though the Scripture is wont to speak of this in two ways. For it sometimes declares what I have quoted from Paul – that there was enmity between us and God before we were reconciled through Christ. On the other hand, we hear what John says – that “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son,” etc. (John 3.16). The statements are, apparently, opposite, but it is easy to reconcile them because, in the one case, we look to God and, in the other, to ourselves. For God, viewed in Himself, loved us before the creation of the world and redeemed us for no other reason than this – because He loved us. As for us, on the other hand, as we see in ourselves nothing but occasion of wrath – that is, sin – we cannot apprehend any love of God towards us without a Mediator. Hence it is that, with respect to us, the beginning of love is from the grace of Christ. According to the former view of the matter, Paul would have expressed himself improperly had he put the love of God before the grace of Christ or, in other words, the cause before the effect. But, according to the latter, it was a suitable arrangement to begin with the grace of Christ, which was the procuring cause of God’s adopting us into the number of His sons and honoring us with His love whom, previously, He regarded with hatred and abhorrence on account of sin.
The “fellowship of the Holy Spirit” is added because it is only under His guidance that we come to possess Christ and all His benefits. He seems, however, at the same time, to allude to the diversity of gifts, of which he had made mention elsewhere (2 Corinthians 12.11) because God does not give the Spirit to everyone in a detached way, but distributes to each according to the measure of grace, that the members of the church, by mutually participating one with another, may cherish unity. – John Calvin (1509-1564). This is his comment on 2 Corinthians 13.14 (1546), the final verse of that book.