Paul says we work together with God for our spiritual success. We want to go to heaven, of course. We know from Scripture this thought is truth. He’s working with us and we are working with Him. We work and He works.
The Study Passage
2 Corinthians 6:1 And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain—
2 Corinthians 6:2 for He says, “AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.” Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”—
2 Corinthians 6:3 giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited,
2 Corinthians 6:4 but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses,
2 Corinthians 6:5 in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger,
2 Corinthians 6:6 in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love,
2 Corinthians 6:7 in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left,
2 Corinthians 6:8 by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true;
2 Corinthians 6:9 as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death,
2 Corinthians 6:10 as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.
What He Has Done For Us
The first two verses show that God has done fantastic things for us. First, Paul urges Christians not to receive God’s grace in vain. Is that something that can be done? Can we receive His grace in vain?
Yes. One may be interested in salvation, but there’s no chance that a slight interest in spiritual matters will get someone to heaven. It’s an “all in” sort of thing. There can be no half-hearted Christians. A Christian must accept God’s grace with everything he is, mentally, spiritually, physically, and most assuredly with the heart. We must return His love for us with our love for Him. First, John 4:17 has this, “By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.”
God wants the all of every person, not a bit, or not just a jot or a tittle, Matthew 5:18. Our Father has gone to great lengths to offer salvation and eternal life to a dead race. That’s the race of humans, and salvation cost Jesus’ life. Jesus came to earth to seek and save sinners, Luke 10:27. He left the glory of heaven to walk among a land of sinners, knowing full well He must forfeit His life to actualize salvation for mankind.
So, Jesus came down from heaven to die on the cross to appease God’s wrath against sinners. God’s love for man prompted Him to set up salvation for man. That plan was made before God made the world, Ephesians 1:3-4.
Don’t choose cheap grace. Don’t receive His grace in vain, uselessly. That’s of no use at all. We must realize the fantastic greatness of His grace with the cost of His Son’s life and respond to it wholeheartedly. We should work with Him to accomplish His will on earth – just as in heaven. Amen?
For What He Has Done For Us, We Ought To Serve Him
Verse 3 tells us what we should do considering His actions for us. Here’s 2 Corinthians 6:3: “giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited.”
We are to give no cause, reason, or excuse for offense in anything. Who might we offend? First, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. They are the reason for our existence, our life. We should treat them as objects of gratitude and worship. We should not offend them in any way.
Second, they have gone to supernatural lengths to save us from ourselves. We ought to know that their wrath falls upon sinners who never repent. Yet, their wrath is appeased toward those who believe, repent, confess Jesus as Lord, have accepted baptism for the remission of sins, and live in righteousness. The Lord is gracious and kind toward those practicing true, intimate Christianity. The saved do not want to offend their loving God.
Third, we can also offend men. Our immoral actions against our neighbors have an eternal aspect of condemnation. We shouldn’t be lying, stealing, kidnapping, changing gender, murdering, being arrogant, or purposefully disregarding anyone, 1 Timothy 1:8-11. In every epistle, there is a teaching against such things. Our lives among men should never cast a disgraceful view of our God. Just the opposite should occur. We are to live as lights among men, causing glory to God.
Fourth, we are to give no offense in anything so the ministry will not be discredited. People are always harping about hypocrites at church. So, don’t be a hypocrite. What we worship on Sundays can be denied by how we hypocritically act Monday through Saturday. So, don’t be a sinner.
The gospel is God’s power to save, Romans 1:16. That power is diminished when Christians do the devil’s work. The power is enhanced when we do God’s work, living and acting righteously, displaying complete trust in God. Christians may cause souls to be lost when they say they worship God but live like the devil. That’s a no-win situation for everyone when we do so. Do not discredit the ministry.
The Christian Way Of Life
Peter tells us we have an opportunity to serve God through suffering, 1 Peter 2:20, 3:14, 4:19. Suffering, that’s the word. It’s not about discomfort or a little pain now and again. We honor our God when we undergo suffering yet live as God wants us to. We depend on God to be with us through it all. James says we ought to rejoice in our trials, James 1:2-3. Paul agrees, Romans 8:17, “and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
The Christian life can assuredly be a difficult, painful one. Along with the joys, peace, and contentment we may experience as a Christian, there is always the aspect of suffering. It’s a double-edged sword. Peter calls this our test of faith, 1 Peter 1:6-7.
Nevertheless, Paul speaks of every negative in a positive way. Once again, here are our verses for consideration.
For brevity’s sake, here’s a table of our work situation and God’s work in our lives.
Our work is morality, trust, and love as described by God. His work is to watch over us, with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly place in Jesus, Ephesians 1:3. His work is to get us home; our work is to do Godly works in His name. It may cause distress, certainly, but it results in the sweet blessings of God.
A practicing Christian experiences all these things. The distress of Christianity is often our work, but God’s blessings attend it. It is our work and His work, working together for our salvation.