As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. 2 For God says,
“At just the right time, I heard you.
On the day of salvation, I helped you.”
Grace isn’t given because of any works, past, present or promised; yet it is given to encourage work, not to say work is unnecessary. God doesn’t want us to receive His grace and become passive. Paul knew that God gives His grace, we work hard, and the work of God is done
Many Christians struggle at this very point. Is God supposed to do it or am I supposed to do it? The answer is, “Yes!” God does it and we do it. Trust God, rely on Him, and then get to work and work as hard as you can! That is how we see the work of God accomplished. If I neglect my end of the partnership, God’s grace doesn’t accomplish all that it might, and is therefore given in vain.
Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
(Note to self: Next time I am feeling sorry for myself, re-read the following verses.)
3 We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. 4 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. 5 We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. 6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. 7 We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. 8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. 9 We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.
These verses are just as wonderful in The Message:
People are watching us as we stay at our post,
alertly, unswervingly . . .
in hard times, tough times, bad times;
when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed;
working hard, working late, working without eating;
with pure heart, clear head, steady hand;
in gentleness, holiness, and honest love;
when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power;
when we’re doing our best setting things right;
when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed;
slandered, and honored;
true to our word, though distrusted;
ignored by the world, but recognized by God;
terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead;
beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die;
immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy;
living on handouts, yet enriching many;
having nothing, having it all.
11 Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. 12 There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. 13 I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!
The Temple of the Living God
14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers.
The idea of do not be unequally yoked together is based on Deuteronomy 22:9, which prohibited yoking together two different animals. It speaks of joining two things that should not be joined.
In what ways had the Corinthian Christians become unequally yoked together with unbelievers? How can we do this? Certainly by marrying an unbeliever and this is the most common way this principle is applied.
But Paul means much more here than only marrying an unbeliever. It really applies to any environment where we let the world influence our thinking. When we are being conformed to this world and are not being transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2), we are joining together with unbelievers in an ungodly way.
How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:
“I will live in them
and walk among them.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things,
and I will welcome you.
18 And I will be your Father,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
In other words — Allow the Gospel to have its life-changing effect on you! Do not receive the grace of God in an empty, purposeless way! Let your thoughts, words, and deeds be consistent with the grace of God!
I think some of my favorite words in all of Scripture (found today in verse 2, as well as in other places) are “Today is the day of salvation!” HERE is Phil Wickham and “This Is the Day.” What needs to be rescued/helped/saved/changed in your life? This is the day! Thank You, Jesus!
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.