2 Corinthians 6
“Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God 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 6:1-2)
Paul saw himself as a coworker with Jesus. He is making this appeal to the Corinthians not to “receive the grace of God in vain.” I bet Paul felt like he was banging his head on a brick wall with these Corinthians. They had received Jesus, yet it seems from these letters they didn’t want to do anything to change for Jesus. They wanted to go on living the way they always had. They wanted to do things their own way and they criticized Paul when he tried to give them direction and instruction. It’s so hard to watch someone who is making the same mistakes over and over and they say I’m sorry, but they never do anything to make the changes needed. I think that’s sort of what Paul was feeling here. He quotes them scripture and then he tells them the time is now. Paul goes on in the next few verses and lays it out. He tells them everything he has endured, but he also in the same breath tells them all the blessings he has received from God. Paul had been through a lot but Paul counted all the bad stuff right alongside all the good stuff!
“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)
Paul tells them I have opened my heart to you, I have spoken freely to you, I have not held anything back, yet the Corinthians seem to be the ones holding back. He wants them to open their hearts to him and to what he has told them. The Corinthians wanted to do it their way, yet they were having such a hard time seeing their way had not worked yet.
“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 Bellial? 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 walk among them and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’” (2 Corinthians has 6:14-16)
This is a pretty popular verse and while most of us tend to use it in relation to marriage, it can also be used in relation to life. But what about being in the world and not of it? Aren’t we supposed to co-mingle with unbelievers so that they will see Jesus in us? Yes we are but, there is a line that we still should not cross with unbelievers. That line should be drawn when it comes to marriage, but also to partnerships. Whether in business and sometimes even friendships, if only for a season. Christians are supposed to be set apart. However, Christians should walk mostly among other Christians to be strengthened in their walk and in their faith before they branch out into the world. You must learn to walk in the light uprightly before you can bring light into the darkness. If a person is struggling with a particular sin, it would not be wise for that person to walk amongst unbelievers who are participating in that sin with the excuse of being in the world and not of it. Paul wanted these Corinthians to realize that they could not continue to be influenced by the world. Sometimes you have to physically separate yourself from influences to learn how to not allow those influences in your own life. Then, if at some point it is not a struggle for you, then you can walk among the world, but only after you have learned how to be separate from the world. Remember the Ministry of Reconciliation we talked about. You can’t be reconciled to God and continue to live in sin. God will not bless a lifestyle of sin. We all sin, but are we striving to become who God wants us to be. Or are we comfortable remaining in the sin?
“Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)
Oh Lord we pray help us to see ourselves as your temple, as your dwelling place. Help us to not be influenced by this world but to be a light for a dark world.
Please pray for the small business owners and people in the service industry.