Saturday Devotion: As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1-10)
The context of this chapter from the preceding verses in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 is “the ministry of reconciliation”. God is reconciling the world to Himself through Jesus. As a result, the Corinthian church was born as people became Christians. However now they have received God’s grace and are Christians, God has given “the ministry of reconciliation” to His church as His fellow workers in partnership with God to reach those around them, (verse 1). Paul instructs us on the need to persevere, overcoming obstacles, choose God’s way over our own and go through hardships. In other words, our active effort is required in being obedient. We are saved the day we receive Christ, but the inclination of our hearts means we can as verse 1 says “receive God’s grace in vain.”
In order to fulfil God’s will of reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, Paul describes in verses 4 to 5 the hardships he needed to endure to be obedient as God’s fellow worker. In verse 6 he outlines the ways he needed the fruit of the Spirit to be successful in “the ministry of reconciliation.” These fruit include, patience, kindness and sincere love in the Holy Spirit as well as purity and understanding.
Paul was an apostle sent by Jesus Himself. Jesus appeared to him on the Damascus road. He is considered one of the greatest Christians of all time. He was someone who planted many churches. He appointed church leaders in the anointing of the Holy Spirit with gifts of prophesy, pastoring, evangelism, teaching, administrations, those with gifts of healing etc. He wrote much of the New Testament with the unction of the Holy Spirit. Despite knowing these things, some people in the church and outside of the church opposed him and treated him badly. He makes some reference to this in verses 8 to 9:
“through glory and dishonour, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed “
Not everyone shall respect you even in the church for standing up for the good news of Jesus Christ. We however need to make pleasing God a priority over pleasing people. What people want, including church people can be very different to God’s priority! Our challenge is to choose to please our Lord and Saviour. As our Teacher and Saviour, even Jesus in John 5:30b states:
“for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
We need to be part of “the ministry of reconciliation.” We need to stand before Christ at the judgement at the end and give an account of ourselves. Let us be found to have pleased God more than ourselves. We need to know our identity as God’s fellow workers in “the ministry of reconciliation.” We need to become skilled in bringing people to God! We are called at the end of the gospels, in Jesus last words before His resurrection to disciple all nations.
Suggested prayer: Father God, help me to submit to Your will in my life. May we live by Your Spirit and not in our sinful nature. May we seek Your approval in our lives today. May we be Your co-workers and ambassadors in reconciling those around us to You. In our weakness and feelings sometime of inadequacy, may You work through us and anoint us to disciple the nations. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.