Grace -- Is it in vain?
2 Corinthians 6:1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 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. (bold my emphasis) 3 We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry…
Last week we discussed what it meant to be an ambassador for Christ. We established the definition as how we represent Christ to others through our actions and words. In 2 Corinthians 6 the Apostle Paul is urging Christians to take the gospel very seriously. He is appealing to them (appeal- parakaleo) meaning to encourage, come alongside, or to persuade. Paul saw what the power of God could do in people’s lives.
Have you ever had a product that you found that was amazing? The results were so good you almost could not believe it yourself. What was the first thing you did? Did you stay completely silent about the awesome product? No- you told all your friends, your acquaintances, and if you really liked it, probably perfect strangers. Now hear me out. I am in no way comparing the gospel to a cheap man made product, but I want you to get Paul’s thought process. He is saying the gospel works, it transforms lives, and it radically changed my life. His conviction is so deep, his belief so unwavering; he could not understand why people would not be telling others about Christ and living for Him!
2 Corinthians 6 “Working together with him” Who is Paul referring to working together with us? None other than God! Just let this sink into your mind. If you are a believer you have God working with you. I was reminded that God gives BIG visions because he is a BIG God. He wants us to walk out the plans he has prepared.
Let’s think about people who “worked together with God.”
Abraham had no children, but the Lord said he would be the father of many nations. Abraham saw a problem with this because he was old! Genesis 17:17 “Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” Abraham was probably thinking God you are so funny, I can’t imagine how you are going to pull this off? But what did Abraham do? He got up and did everything God told him to do because he knew he served a BIG God. What did God do? He gave him an heir just as He promised.
When Noah was 500 years old he became the laughing stock of the town because he was building an ark with no rain. But just as the Lord promised when it started to rain, Noah and his family were protected in the arc just as God Promised.
Ester was an orphan from a foreign land, yet she became queen. God put before her an impossible task but with knowledge God would provide she carried about her mission. God not only protected her, but all the Jews in the land.
Lets finish up the last half of the verse in 2 Corinthians, “we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” Paul is saying don’t receive the grace of God and then do nothing with it. In our CBS book it says, “acknowledge that God’s work in a believer’s life can be fruitless and accomplish nothing. It could be paraphrased as ‘I appeal to you do not abuse God’s precious grace. Please realize the purpose of His generous grace toward you and allow it to affect your life.” What if we allowed God’s grace to fully affect our life? What would that look like? I think it would mean more love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Do you currently demonstrate any of these in your life? All these are possible if we allow Christ to create in us a new heart. Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Don’t let God’s grace be in vain. ”Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. There is coming a day when we will no longer be able to share the gospel because judgment will return with the Lord. Trust that God is working together with you! Be Bold. Be Courageous. Be a Light. Be who God has called you to be- not what Satan wants you to settle for!