Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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      2 Corinthians - Chapter 06 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. We work together with God, and we beg you to make good use of God's kindness to you.
    2. In the Scriptures God says, "When the time came, I listened to you, and when you needed help, I came to save you." That time has come. This is the day for you to be saved.
    3. We don't want anyone to find fault with our work, and so we try hard not to cause problems.
    4. But in everything and in every way we show that we truly are God's servants. We have always been patient, though we have had a lot of trouble, suffering, and hard times.
    5. We have been beaten, put in jail, and hurt in riots. We have worked hard and have gone without sleep or food.
    6. But we have kept ourselves pure and have been understanding, patient, and kind. The Holy Spirit has been with us, and our love has been real.
    7. We have spoken the truth, and God's power has worked in us. In all our struggles we have said and done only what is right.
    8. Whether we were honored or dishonored or praised or cursed, we always told the truth about ourselves. But some people said we did not.
    9. We are unknown to others, but well known to you. We seem to be dying, and yet we are still alive. We have been punished, but never killed,
    10. and we are always happy, even in times of suffering. Although we are poor, we have made many people rich. And though we own nothing, everything is ours.
    11. Friends in Corinth, we are telling the truth when we say that there is room in our hearts for you.
    12. We are not holding back on our love for you, but you are holding back on your love for us.
    13. I speak to you as I would speak to my own children. Please make room in your hearts for us.
    14. Stay away from people who are not followers of the Lord! Can someone who is good get along with someone who is evil? Are light and darkness the same?
    15. Is Christ a friend of Satan? Can people who follow the Lord have anything in common with those who don't?
    16. Do idols belong in the temple of God? We are the temple of the living God, as God himself says, "I will live with these people and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people."
    17. The Lord also says, "Leave them and stay away! Don't touch anything that isn't clean. Then I will welcome you
    18. and be your Father. You will be my sons and my daughters, as surely as I am God, the All-Powerful."
Reflections

2 Corinthians - Chapter 06

Entered: October 20, 2005
Through these two chapters Paul seems particularly concerned about his relationship with the Corinthians. He appeals to them to be open take him and his comrads and to take them into their hearts. He then praises them for the repentance that has taken place among them. He was grieved because of the letter he sent that caused grief for them, but it produced repentance for which he now rejoices. He concludes by saying that he has complete confidence in them. Mingled in this concern for their acceptance of him are a couple of exhortations. In the first, he says, "Don't receive God's grace in vain." I believe he is exhorting them to allow God's grace to work its purpose in them and produce good fruit. Don't remain in your sinful ways. In his second exhortation Paul says, "Do not be mismatched with unbelievers." This is most often applied to marriage but is intended for a variety of partnerships. I believe this exhortation is closely connected with the first. God's grace will not have its chance to produce in them its good fruit if they match themselves with unbelievers in all sorts of partnerships and are drawn down by them. They will continually be expected and tempted to make compromising arrangements and dealings.

Entered: November 14, 2011

In the last verse of chapter 5 Paul told the Corinthians that Christ, the One who did not know sin, was made sin for us that we might "become the righteousness of God in Him." (5:21) Now in 6:1 he tells them not to "receive God's grace in vain." In other words, don't make His grace empty by diluting it with other ideas and practices. This they were doing, or at least on the verge of doing, by embracing false teachers and continuing to dabble with the pagans practices out of which some had come. 

Through their association with these false teachers they were also being influenced to reject Paul's apostalic ministry among them. If they reject him they will also reject his message concerning the new covenant. This, more than personal rejection, was Paul's concern and so he returns to a defense of his ministry and the topic of letters of recommendation. The false teachers were charging that Paul had no letters from anyone of authority to validate his ministry. Earlier Paul pointed out that such letters could easily be faked. What could not be faked was a ministry of suffering for Christ on their behalf. It is this subject to which Paul returns saying, "But in everything, as God's ministers, we commend ourselves." (6:4) Then he lists some of his hardships: "by great endurance, by afflictions, by hardship, by pressures, by beatings, by imprisonments, by riots, by labors, by sleepless nights, by times of hunger." (6:4-5) Next he lists some of his internal qualities: "by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love." (6:6-7) Then he lists responses he has encountered to his ministry: "through glory and dishonor, through slander and good report; as deceivers yet true." (6:8) Finally, he mentions his personal state on behalf of the gospel: "as unknown yet recognized; as dying and look--we live; as being chastened yet not killed; as grieving yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing yet possessing everything." (6:9-10) All of this is more valid commendation of his ministry than any letter. Nor could any of this be commended in those false teachers who came with their letters of recommendation.

Then Paul turns to the real issue: "You are not limited by us, but you are limited by your own affections." (6:12)  It is neither Paul nor his ministry but their own affections that limit them. They continued to have affections for pagan teachings and practices, and Paul told them that as believers they could not be matched or yoked with unbelievers. "What fellowship does light have with darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Belial?" he asks. (6:14, 15) And then quotes portions of Isaiah 52:11 and Ezekiel 20:41 saying, "Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord." (6:17) If they were to avoid receiving God's grace in vain, they could no longer unite themselves with these practices.