1 Working together, we entreat also that you not receive the grace of God in vain, 2 for he says, "At an acceptable time I listened to you, in a day of salvation I helped you." Behold, now is the acceptable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We give no occasion of stumbling in anything, that our service may not be blamed, 4 but in everything commending ourselves, as servants of God, in great endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, 5 in beatings, in imprisonments, in riots, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; 6 in pureness, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in sincere love, 7 in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. 11 Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians. Our heart is enlarged. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. 13 Now in return, I speak as to my children, you also be open wide. 14 Don't be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What agreement has Christ with Belial? Or what portion has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has a temple of God with idols? For you are a temple of the living God. Even as God said, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they will be my people." 17 Therefore, "'Come out from among them, and be separate,' says the Lord. 'Touch no unclean thing. I will receive you. 18 I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty."
This chapter 2 Cor. 6, closely connected in sense with the preceding, is designed as an address to the Corinthian Christians, exhorting them to act worthily of their calling, and of their situation under such a ministry as they had enjoyed. In the previous chapters, Paul had discoursed at length of the design and of the labors of the ministry. The main drift of all this was to show them the nature of reconciliation, and the obligation to turn to God, and to live to him. This idea is pursued in this chapter; and in view of the labors and self-denials of the ministry, Paul urges on the Corinthian Christians the duty of coming out from the world, and of separating themselves entirely from all evil. The chapter may be conveniently contemplated in the following parts:
I. Paul states that he and his associates were fellow-laborers with God, and he exhorts the Corinthians not to receive the grace of God in vain. To induce them to make a wise improvement of the privileges which they enjoyed, he quotes a passage from Isaiah, and applies it as meaning that it was then an acceptable time, and that they might avail themselves of mercy, 2-Corinthians 6:1-2.
II. He enumerates the labors and self-denials of the ministry. He refers to their sincerity, zeal, and honesty of life. He shows how much they had been willing to endure in order to convey the gospel to others, and how much they had in fact endured, and how much they had benefitted others. He speaks of their afflictions in a most tender and beautiful manner, and of the happy results which had followed from their self-denying labors, 2-Corinthians 6:3-10. The design of this is, evidently, to remind them of what their religion had cost, and to appeal to them in view of all this to lead holy and pure lives.
III. Paul expresses his ardent attachment for them, and says that if they were straitened - if they did not live as they should do, it was not because he and his fellow-laborers had not loved them, and sought their welfare, but from a defect in themselves, 2-Corinthians 6:11-12.
IV. As a reward for all that he had done and suffered for them, he now asked only that they should live as became Christians, 2-Corinthians 6:13-18. He sought not silver, or gold, or apparel. He had not labored as he had done with any view to a temporal reward. And he now asked simply that they should come out from the world, and be dissociated from everything that was evil. He demanded that they should be separated from all idolatry, and idolatrous practices; assures them that there can be no union between light and darkness; righteousness and unrighteousness; Christ and Belial; that there can be no agreement between the temple of God and idols; reminds them of the fact that they are the temple of God; and encourages them to do this by the assurance that God would be their God, and that they should be his adopted sons and daughters. The chapter is one of great beauty; and the argument for a holy life among Christians is one that is exceedingly forcible and tender.
We should not receive the grace of God in vain, having such promises of support from him, 2-Corinthians 6:1, 2-Corinthians 6:2. We should act so as to bring no disgrace on the Gospel, 2-Corinthians 6:3. How the apostles behaved themselves, preached, suffered, and rejoiced, 2-Corinthians 6:4-10. St. Paul's affectionate concern for the Corinthians, 2-Corinthians 6:11-13. He counsels them not to be yoked with unbelievers, and advances several arguments why they should avoid them, 2-Corinthians 6:14-16. Exhorts them to avoid evil companions and evil practices, on the promise that God will be their Father and that they shall be his sons and his daughters, 2-Corinthians 6:17, 2-Corinthians 6:18,
SUMMARY.--An Exhortation to Believers. The Blameless Ministry of Paul and His Fellow-Workers. Their Endurance of Trials. Their Unselfish Self-Denial. An Appeal for Greater Love. The Intimate Association With Unbelievers Forbidden. Saints the Temple of God.
*More commentary available by clicking individual verses.