Separating yourself from the world may cause hardship, but God has promised to be with you every step of the way.
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2 Corinthians 6 (NIV)
1 As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.
2 For he says,
“In the time of my favor I heard you,
and in the day of salvation I helped you.”
I tell you,
now is the time of God’s favor,
now is the day of salvation.
3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.
as servants of God
we commend ourselves in every way:
in great endurance;
in troubles, hardships and distresses;
5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots;
in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;
6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness;
in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;
7 in truthful speech and in the power of God;
with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;
glory and dishonor,
bad report and good report;
yet regarded as impostors;
yet regarded as unknown;
and yet we live on;
beaten, and yet not killed;
10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing;
poor, yet making many rich;
having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
have spoken freely to you, Corinthians,
and opened wide our hearts to you.
are not withholding our affection from you,
but you are withholding yours from us.
13 As a fair exchange—
I speak as to my children—
open wide your hearts also.
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.
what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?
Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?
Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?
For we are the temple of the living God.
As God has said:
“I will live with them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”
“Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6 Summary
Paul lays out a pretty impressive resume regarding his Christian life in v5-10. Granted, you likely will not be called by God to endure beatings, imprisonments & riots (v5), but what hardships will you be willing to face today or this week on account of Christ?
Maybe you are experiencing hard work, sleepless nights and hunger (maybe not hunger for food, but for some other necessary component of life). But are the causes of these stresses coming from things under the sun that will not last (to borrow a phrase from Ecclesiastes)?
You don't need to invite this trouble into your life, but on the other hand, you will instinctually navigate around trouble associated with the gospel rather than take it on if you are not intentionally following God's will despite the associated costs.
A key tenant of Christianity is that God freely bestows grace on all who believe. Your forgiveness is based on God's grace, not your works. But although God's grace is freely given, it does not come without cost. As a result of being joined to the benefits of Christ, you must die to your old sinful desires and live guided by God's Word.
The Corinthians wanted grace, but since they didn't like Paul's authority over them, they wanted him to just leave them alone. They didn't want to make the changes to their sinful lifestyle that Paul was demanding.
People are still like this today: wanting God's grace, but not wanting to bow themselves under the submission of Scripture (which has the same authority for us that Paul had in Corinth). But if the free grace people receive does not cause them to live a more Godly life, it is like receiving God's grace in vain (v1).
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is our master, and we are His servants (v4)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will be God's people, separated from the world's sin (v17)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: