2 Corinthians 6:1 - ‘Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain’.
What would it look like to receive the grace of God in vain? How would it appear to be a recipient of God’s grace, but to have none of its authority or power in your life? What good is the favor of God if it makes absolutely no difference in the life of the inheritor? Paul is here quoting from Isaiah 49:7 that the day is coming when the captivity is over, when the dispersion will be gone… and he will help his humble servant to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. In today’s context, Paul is saying that the day of the new has arrived in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Today God has offered salvation through Christ and this is the favorable time, the day of salvation. Receiving God’s grace is receiving God’s salvation. And because we have received this grace we become God’s co-workers. It is His work that He asks us to do together with Him. If we do not work with and for God, we receive God’s grace in vain. It’s time we remind people that now is the day of salvation. Paul’s great plea was that now is now, and that now is the only opportunity for us to remind people that if they have received the Salvation then its time they don’t keep it to ourselves.
Be a blameless servant of God!
And when we are co-workers, as servants of God “we (should) commend ourselves in every way” says Paul. We need to be careful not to allow anything in our lives to turn someone off from becoming a Christian. There is no better rule of life than to ask ourselves the question every day, what influence are my actions now having on the Church of God? Paul had this passion to be blameless as a servant of the gospel. Paul was willing to do most anything to make sure he gave no offense in anything. He was willing to forego his salary as a minister of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:3-15). He was willing to work hard and endure hardship. Paul was not afraid to offend anyone over the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:18-25), but he would not allow his style of ministry to offend anyone. But, Paul’s ministry was blamed and discredited by the Corinthian Christians. He has taken great risks to tell the Corinthians of God’s grace and love. Yet, Paul never doubts that the gospel is worth it all. His focus was Jesus and his plea is that everyone receives this salvation he has experienced.
Be joyful in suffering!
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, Philippians 1:29-30 Look at verses 8 to 10. Paul lists seven paradoxes, seven seemingly contradictory truths; the sufferer is seen as an imposter, unknown, dying, punished, sorrowful, and poor; having nothing. YET, well known, not killed, always rejoicing, making many rich and possessing everything. But God takes the worst and transforms it to the best. Here’s what God does in the life of a sufferer. He knows you and sees the inside of you. Romans 5:3–5 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Expect to suffer for Jesus, but expect greater joy and life to come through that suffering. ...as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. (2 Corinthians 6:10) What a magnificent life!
Thank you, Heavenly Father, Thank you for Paul, as he lived through the pressures and the calamities of his own time. Grant us grace to live right under similar pressures that we may seek to glorify God and count it as joy; manifesting a character of purity, of knowledge, of patience, and of kindness. We thank you, Lord, and ask that you will make us that by the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus name, Amen.