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Receiving Grace

16 Sep

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. (2 Corinthians 6:1)

How is it that one can receive God’s grace, in vain? Isn’t simply receiving enough? What else can someone actually do with God’s grace other than receive it? In fact, Paul goes so far as to say both he and God himself are making this appeal, “we appeal to you” (in chapter 5 we see he is in fact referring to God and himself when he says, “we”).

First, how can someone receive God’s grace in vain? …

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. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

We can see clearly this is important, vitally so even. God is asking us not to receive his grace in vain. Paul is asking not to receive it in vain. Yet it seems counter-intuitive, if you’ve already received God’s grace how can you receive it in vain? – You receive God’s grace in vain when you receive it, but don’t do anything with it. It would be like a man given a treasure map and just staring at the map. He’s received the map in vain; he won’t do anything with it! So how can we not receive God’s grace in vain? By receiving it and then acting upon it; finding the treasure if you will. But now the question comes, “how do we act upon God’s grace?”. By asking God to save us, and frankly, by being saved.

We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also. (2 Corinthians 6:11-13)

The warning and now the commission: Don’t receive God’s grace in vain, instead, open your hearts to it. That’s what Paul and God are saying. But they’re also saying that the Corinthians are restricted not by them, but by their own affections. In this case, we can see a little later in the chapter that Paul is actually referring to being, “yoked” (or married) to an unbeliever. But it can apply to us as well as to the Corinthians.

Second, where do our affections belong, and where are they now? …

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)

God has given us his grace, we have received it and acted on it. Now we realize something else, that our old loves, our old affections, our old idols, should be just that; old, not current. – Real quick I would like to clarify something here, if someone was already married to an unbeliever, Paul tell’s us to stay with that person unless the other person does something, such as for example, up and leaving/dying. But let’s not really get into that now. All he’s saying is we shouldn’t marry an unbeliever on purpose after we’re saved. – We should not be idolaters, loving anything more than we love God. Is there darkness in us (yes)? Then we should cast it out.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, (2 Corinthians 5:1-2)

It’s true we still live in an earthly “tent” and therefore will still fall. But through the power of the Spirit we are able to not be mastered by any sin.

“Everything is permissible for me”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”–but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Believe it or not, there is a point to all of this: We (you and I), have been saved by God’s grace, and because of that, our affections no longer belong to idols, but to God.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, (1 Corinthians 6:19)

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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