Archive for the ‘#2corinthians6:1-13’ Tag

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There are a lot of amazing jobs out there. I can imagine being a reporter for a media outlet that was well-respected for providing fair, full and truthful reporting. Brad’s dream job is to be able to invent stuff all day and just give it away to people who need it. Ah, if we only didn’t have to eat ….

Paul had an amazing job. He was an ambassador for Christ. As such, he saw himself  as Jesus’ coworker. They were partners. Jesus had given Paul (and all Christians) the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Now because we are fellow workerswe also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, “I heard you at the acceptable time, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” Looknow is the acceptable time; looknow is the day of salvation! 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

Image result for image christian reconciliationIt’s not like God needed Paul’s help. He’s God. He doesn’t need our help either. But God wants us to work with Him because it’s good for us. Brad was often torn between letting the kids help him with home construction projects or asking them to go away so he could get the work done quickly. Our daughter loved to “help” in the kitchen, but her help frequently meant wasted food and dinner being slow to get on the table. But we both put up with this because we wanted to work with our kids so that they would learn how to do things for themselves. In a similar way, God allowed Paul and continues to allow us to work with Him so that we might benefit from the interaction. If you go back into Genesis 1, you realize that God’s plan for our lives never involved ease and indulgent inactivity. We were meant to be workers with God and now pet potatoes.

What does it mean to “receive the grace of God in vain”? It means to receive the goodness and favor of God, yet to hinder the work of grace in your life (1 Corinthians 15:10). Paul explained that even if he hadn’t worked as hard as he had, the grace of God would still have been given to him, but in some measure, it would have been given in vain. Grace is, by definition, given freely, but how we receive grace will help to determine how effective it will be in our lives. It’s not given because of any works (past, present or promised) and yet it encourages work. We are not meant to receive grace and grow passive. Paul knew that God gives His grace so that we might work hard and His work might be done.

Verse 2 is a little confusing. We had to turn to Bible commentaries to understand it. It’s a quotation from Isaiah 49:8 and it was meant to give the Corinthian Christians a sense of urgency. God has an acceptable time for us to work with His grace. The day of salvation will not last forever. Sitting down on the job and taking your ease is not in His plan.

We do not give anyone an occasion for taking an offense in anything, so that no fault may be found with our ministry. 2 Corinthians 6:3

Paul was willing to do almost anything to make sure he gave no offense in anything. He was willing to forego payment as a minister of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:3-15). He was willing to allow others to be more prominent. He was willing to work hard and endure hardship. He wasn’t afraid to offend anyone over the gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:18-25), but he would not allow his style of ministry to offend anyone.

That didn’t prevent people from blaming and discrediting Paul’s ministry among the Corinthian church. What Paul meant was that his ministry could not be rightly blamed. Paul had no control over false accusations, except to live in such a way that fair-minded people would see accusations as false.

But as God’s servantswe have commended ourselves in every way, with great endurancein persecutions, in difficultiesin distresses, in beatingsin imprisonmentsin riotsin troublesin sleepless nights, in hunger, by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by benevolenceby the Holy Spirit, by genuine love, by truthful teaching, by the power of Godwith weapons of righteousness both for the right hand and for the left, through  glory and dishonorthrough slander and praise; regarded as  impostorsand yet true; as unknownand yet well-knownas dying and yet – see! – we continue to live; as those who are scourged and yet not executed; as sorrowful, but always rejoicing, as  poorbut making many richas having nothingand yet possessing everything.

2 Corinthians 6:4-10

Image result for image christian reconciliationPaul had an impressive resume, things with which he could commend himself. He’d been patient beyond ordinary example. The word in the New Testament “hupomone” carries a connotation of endurance rather than simply waiting. Patience is often perceived as a passive thing – just waiting around for stuff to happen. That’s not how Paul was using the word. He was writing about an active endurance, of bearing hardships in such a triumphant way that it transforms the enduring one.

Why did Paul need endurance? He was often stressed and under pressure, assailed by tribulations, needy and distressed. He’d been flogged, imprisoned, and assaulted by angry mobs. He’d worked hard, slept little and fasted a bunch. Paul had willingly chosen to be a coworker of Jesus, uncomplaining and enduring.

He was not without resources to bulwark against the troubles that came his way. God was with him, supporting him on all sides. The world might lie about him, but God gave him an excellent review.

We have spoken freely to you, Corinthiansour heart has been opened wide to youOur affection for you is not restricted, but you are restricted in your affections for us. Now as a fair exchange – I speak as to my children – open wide your hearts to us also. 2 Corinthians 6:11-13

Paul had spent enough time laying down the principles before making a pointed appeal to the Corinthian Christians. He spoke truth in love. The Corinthians were playing “the victim”. Out of godly necessity, he had been firm with them on prior occasions. Now they were claiming they were restricted by Paul’s judgement. I can just imagine what they were saying — “Well, Paul, we’d love to reconcile with you, but we just can’t get over the hurt of what you said before.”

The real problem was that the Corinthian Christians were affecting a victim attitude. It wasn’t that Paul didn’t love them enough, but they loved themselves and the world too much and resented Paul calling them on their selfish attitudes. Paul wanted to see the same honest self-evaluation from them that he had just displayed to them. That was what was needed to bring about reconciliation.

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