6 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,
“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.
The Temple of the Living God
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6 Commentary
by Hank Workman
King Hezekiah was one of the good rulers of Israel. Working in tandem with the prophet Isaiah he reformed the land and cleaned house. Revival broke out. He had a growing relationship with his God and an amazing prayer life.
Then it happened, he became very ill. Isaiah came and told him to put his house in order. Deeply saddened he turned in his bed toward the wall and pleaded for an intervention, citing how faithful and devoted he’d been to God. And God worked a miracle. As a sign, the sun went backward 10 steps on the staircase. Hezekiah was miraculously healed. Then he became sloppy and allowed envoys from Babylon to see all the riches of that had been acquired during his reign. It was a moment of pride that was truly unprecedented for such a man. He had been so humble before God but the healing had made him possibly think he was invincible. 2 Chronicles states: “God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.” (2 Chronicles 32:31).
Fortunately for Hezekiah, the scriptures record he repented of his pride.
Paul continues from his thoughts of our being ambassadors in chapter 6 with these thoughts:
“And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” – 2 Corinthians 6:1
It begs the question as to what is Paul getting at with this statement? How were they possibly tossing aside the grace God had given them? If you look at the whole letter and issues he hammers they were inundated with false teachers. Some were listening. They doubted who even Paul was. Some were being tossed like a ship in a storm.
Paul’s words are 2 fold. First of all, we are working together with Him. What an amazing thought to even chew on. As ambassadors for Christ in this world, we represent the King and He desires to work with us as his representative. But the warning is to not allow the things of this life, for the Corinthian group, the teachings that are being spoken, to make the grace they’ve been given be in vain.
Overall, the people knew and received the message of truth and grace but didn’t let it affect what they said and did. When this is the case in our own lives of knowing the truth and having experienced the grace yet not let letting it dictate our own decisions and following, we do the same.
It’s interesting when you consider Hezekiah. His past accomplishments and weaknesses affected at least 3 kings who followed after him. His past obedience didn’t guarantee future obedience. It’s on ongoing dependence upon God throughout one’s entirety of days that will bring the amazing grace of God and tremendous outcome of what He desires.
It has been said, “The past affects your decisions and actions today, and these, in turn, affect the future.” Our every growing relationship with God cannot rest on the laurels of having just turned to Him. It’s a day by day relationship that must be maintained and worked on as His grace humbles and provides opportunity. It is the absolute reliance on the Holy Spirit and yielding to Him. This marks our walk in strength and confidence and enables us to embrace the grace He has given. Otherwise, God may leave us to our own devices to test us to know everything that is truly in our heart.
2 Corinthians 6 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
“Such persons cannot say this petition of the Lord’s prayer, ‘Lead us not into temptation.’ They plunge into it of their own accord.”Adam Clarke
We have all heard the phrase “unequally yoked” which refers to the mingling of believers and unbelievers. Many apply this to marriage and even though it is true, this was not necessarily Paul’s intended context. Consider how many believers today are influenced more by the world than by Christ?
If you have ever watched farm animals interact, you will notice a trend. When the fence gate is open, sheep don’t understand that they can walk out. Often, what will happen is that the goats will walk outside the fence gate and the sheep will follow them. This is happening all around us every day. Instead of following the shepherd, the sheep follow the goats.
Many people go back to mind-numbing activities to combat the stresses of daily life. We eat ice cream and binge on the latest Netflix series. We sit and play video games for hours. We drink alcohol excessively to numb the pain. This is the world’s response to stress. Believers are called to patiently endure, which is much easier said than done. Consider how in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus persevered in prayer while drops of bloody sweat streamed down his face. The disciples, on the other hand, fell asleep.
I can’t help but think how many of us would not respond the way Jesus did, myself included. The more I read and study the Bible, the more I realize how much I fall short daily. But this is Paul’s point. He wants us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The compromise of entertaining worldly behavior absolutely stunts our spiritual growth. This is especially true of situations when God has allowed suffering to increase.
The truth of the matter is that you are a child of God. You have been chosen and set apart. You are to be holy just as God is holy. Because of the new identity which was purchased for you by Christ, you now know the shepherd. You don’t have to follow the goats anymore.
This is impossible without the Holy Spirit who brings perspective, peace, and protection. Knowledge is only half the battle. The other half is practical application. Each of us has an opportunity every day to live in our new identity and follow the Shepherd.