2 CORINTHIANS 6
1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
This apostolic entreaty suggests several profitable thoughts. It distinctly implies that the grace of God is given for a purpose that may not be realized in all who are the subjects of it. This cuts at the root of popular conceptions of "grace"; according to which, grace is a spiritual essence stealing over the senses, as it were, and influencing the faculties of the mind, and working its own work apart from the will of the subject.
This is a sort of grace that would be impossible to "receive in vain"; for once received, the effect is as sure as sleep follows chloroform. The "grace" of apostolic language is a grace that may be received in vain. This grace is neither more nor less than favour of God, manifested in benefits conferred and offered, with the object of evoking in us certain results towards Him which He desires.
It is easy to understand this sort of grace being received in vain. Israel, in all stages of their history, exemplifies it. The generation that came out of Egypt, received God's grace or favour in vain. His power was thrown away upon them. They proved ungrateful, unappreciative, disobedient. They did not yield that reasonable response of love and service which it was calculated and designed to evoke; and they perished in consequence. Paul makes a special application of this to believers. He lays stress on the fact that
"all our fathers were under the cloud, and baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea."
They were all constitutionally introduced to God's favour; but so far as their individual benefit was concerned, it was in vain. "They fell in the wilderness," whereupon he makes the remark:
"Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted" (1 Cor. 10:6).
Now, the grace or favour of God has come to us in the forgiveness of our past sins, and the promise of eternal life and inheritance in His glorious kingdom; and Paul's entreaty to the Corinthians, and, therefore, to us, who have been brought into their position, is, that we receive not this grace in vain. Let us seek to realize what it is to receive it in vain, that we may be enabled to avoid so hapless a condition.
We can best do this by considering what its reception is intended to accomplish. It is intended to induce certain results in which the Father takes pleasure, and in the development of which He finds recompense as it were for His goodness. These results are, by a figure, styled "fruit." Jesus says,
"Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit."
6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
The great trouble with the world is SIN
This is at the root of every evil, sorrow, sickness and death. Sin is the opposite of obedience. Obedience is doing God's will. Sin is ignoring or disobeying God's will and doing our own will, the evil will of the flesh. Sin says, "I will do as I please." Obedience and wisdom say, "I will do as God wills."
We find within us the motions of sin, just as the Scriptures say: pride, envy, selfishness, greed, inconsideration, irritability, impatience, anger, cruelty. We see the earth filled with wickedness and violence and oppression and crime. Paul's lament-
"I find a law in my members...a law of sin...when I would do good, evil is present with me" (Rm. 7:21-23).
-is the universal experience of any who have thought on the matter at all. Only the Bible explains these things, and tells us how to recognize them and overcome them, and at last become completely free from them by a glorious physical change.
We freely recognize, if we have any sense at all, that kindness and patience and love and unselfish consideration for others would make a far happier world for all: but we find these obviously good and desirable qualities do not come naturally to us, but the very opposite. They are contrary to nature. The Bible tells us why, and it alone gives the all-sufficient and all-powerful solution.
The Bible is God-manifestation: God manifesting Himself to man, drawing man to Him, teaching man how to approach God, and enjoy God, and become like God, and be forever with God; teaching man how to become in his turn a glorious manifestation of God.
Bro Growcott - Thy Word Is Truth
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
My God and Our God - are phrases which can only (truthfully) be employed by the saints. Under the Mosaic dispensation, God was the God of Israel only (Amos iii. 2). In the age to come He will be the God of all the earth (Is. liv. 5). Now He is the God only of the few (embracing Jew and Gentile) who believe and obey the gospel. Such have responded to His call (Acts ii. 39), and through it, have become his acknowledged people (Acts xv. 14).
The religious world is "without God"-this is a sad but positive fact. To have to contend for this in word and deed is far from pleasant; but duty must not be shirked. "Obey my voice, and I will be your God" (Jer. vii. 23). This determines divine relationship. The religious world in fellowshipping the blasphemous doctrines of anti-Christ is disobedient. The Word speaks plainly:
"Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2 Cor. vi. 14-18). ATJ
The Christadelphian - June 1887
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
The phrases "his name," "his tabernacle," and "them that dwell in the heaven," are all synonymous with the phrase in the seventh verse, "the saints," of whom Christ is "the Head." The Deity dwells in them, and therefore they are his temple, habitation, or tabernacle; as Paul writes to the saints in Corinth,
"Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their Deity, and they shall be my people" (2 Cor. 6:16).
They are the tabernacle
"built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, the foundation cornerstone being Jesus Christ himself: in whom all the building fitly framed together increaseth for a Holy Name in the Lord: in whom ye are builded together for an habitation of the Deity in Spirit" (Eph. 2:20-22).
But Christ and the Saints are not only the Name and Tabernacle of the Deity, but they are also, "those who dwell in the heaven." The phrase "in the heaven" is Apocalyptically equivalent to "in the heavenlies in Christ" -en tois epouraniois en Christo (Eph. 1:3).
Paul tells the saints in Ephesus, that he with them were "blessed with all spiritual blessings" in these heavenlies; in which they and Christ, though the latter is at the Right Hand of the Divine Majesty, and they in Ephesus and elsewhere, were regarded as sitting together (Eph. 1:20; 2:6).
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
It does not mean hermitage or seclusion any more than Christ or Paul were hermits. There can be no fraternity with the world in its enterprises, ambitions, politics or pleasures. The world, as such, is the enemy of God and the Truth. It is one huge, organized, hypocritical embodiment of sin and
ungodliness. This includes all forms and beliefs of religion invented by it and catering to public sentiments and popular desires.
True religion, as defined by God through Christ, could never be popular, for it is a denunciation of all the world stands for and loves, and a command to be separate from it. It tells man that his natural course of life, whoever he may be, is evil and ungodly, and commands him to humbly submit and change his whole nature. It is not seclusion in a monkery that is demanded, but a clear distinction in every aspect of our lives.
Bro Growcott - The Fleeting Cross and the Eternal Crown
Problems of the Modern Situation.
In this situation of things, there are problems which did not embarrass the operations of the Gospel in the first century. People come to a knowledge of the truth, here and there throughout the world, by means of the published literature of the truth, which has gone widely abroad. What are they to do on attaining to this knowledge? They are members of the various religious bodies around them: shall they continue in their accustomed association?
Reason itself would answer this question even if there were no Scriptural guidance. How can a man continue in association with a body with whose sentiments and objects he has ceased to have sympathy? The Scriptures prescribe that which impulse would dictate: to "come out" (2 Cor. vi 17) to have no fellowship (Eph. v 11), to withdraw (2 Tim. iii 5). It is impossible that the truth could grow or live in the theological communions of the day.
The Ecclesial Guide
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Provided we allow ourselves to be actuated by the Spirit of God (and His words are spirit) then are we His sons and daughters
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, May 1900