November 2nd, 2022 – Late Tuesday Afternoon
“Now because we are fellow workers, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” ~2 Corinthians 6:1
This is a curious verse, isn’t it? It causes one to pause on the often-busy road of life and to reconsider a few things…things like what it means “to receive the grace of God in vain” and what it means not to receive it in that way. In reality, that pause and contemplation (and ensuing action) was likely the intended purpose of Paul & Timothy (and God) in writing it to the Corinthian church; the ramifications of what this verse is communicating are serious and eternal.
So what is this verse saying? First off, Paul & Timothy identify themselves as “fellow workers”; this is often coupled in Bible translations with the words “with Him” as that may be what is implied. Whether “with Him” should be added or not, it is clear that they are fellow laborers in the kingdom and gospel of God. As such, they admonish the Corinthians not to receive (get) the grace of God to no purpose; in other words, the grace of God has a purpose and it must not (or perhaps cannot) be received in a way that disregards that purpose.
For what purpose is the grace of God given? Looking at this passage in its context (along with passages like Romans 6 or Ephesians 2), the grace of God has a huge purpose that ultimately has everything to do with everything about our life. That may sound rather generic, but the reality is that God has given His grace through Christ Jesus in order that wretched sinners could be transformed into glorious saints; His grace is sufficient for every aspect of this life and that transformation, from temptation to trials to tortures to triumph. In the immediate context, the specific purpose of God’s grace seems to be the cleansing and holiness of God’s people (see 2 Corinthians 7:1).
The next question to ask, then, is this: How do we not receive the grace of God in vain? The answers to that question can be gleaned in the verses following (which we may get to in the days ahead), but let’s propose three here: First off, we need to keep in mind the purposes of God’s grace; we must not be side-lined from living a life of obedience and holiness because we are distracted, confused, or distorted in our understanding of God and His grace. Secondly, we must allow God to bring us to a complete openness with Him and His people; it is impossible for God’s grace to have His way in a heart that is intent on one’s own way and will (and all that that perspective requires). And, finally, let us be diligent to respond immediately to the Spirit’s conviction, alarm, and warning.
Beloved, what an awesome opportunity we have been given in Christ Jesus! God’s powerful grace transforming sinners into saints – saving and sanctifying us for an eternity of glory with the Eternal Godhead! Let us be careful not to receive such grace in vain; rather, let us embrace it wholeheartedly and allow Him to have His perfect way in all things. Soli Deo Gloria!