Heavenly Father, we are gathered here today to listen to Your word, to learn more of You, to have a closer walk with You, and to have a relationship with You. We pray for the grace to know You more and more every day, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-2, 1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation.
Paul pleaded with his audience not to take God’s grace for granted by quoting God’s promise to Israel in Isaiah 49:8.
Isaiah 49:8, Thus says the Lord: “In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You.
I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages
VV 3-10, 3 We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. 4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fasting, 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor 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 chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor, yet making many rich, as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
Paul defended his ministry saying that he and his co-workers did not offend anyone and his ministry was blameless. Paul listed out the hallmarks of a true apostle. True apostles are ministers of God, in difficulties, sufferings, tribulations, trials, persecutions, distress, sleeplessness, etc, by purity, patience, kindness, love, power, honour, etc, as unknown yet known, as dying, yet alive, as poor, yet making others rich, as having nothing, yet possessing all things. Note, “in”, “by”, and “as”.
VV 11-13, 11 O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. 13 Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.
Greek for restricted is “stenochoreo”, which means, a closed heart. Paul and his co-workers opened their hearts to the Corinthian Christians but the Corinthian Christians closed their hearts to them. Paul pleaded with his audience to reciprocate by opening their hearts to him.
VV 14-16, 14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them, and walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”
Paul warned his audience against forming partnerships with unbelievers in marriage, business partneship, or any other joint ventures. Paul warned his audience to reject the false apostles who peddled false theology and heretic doctrines. Paul asked 5 rhetorical questions. Paul considered the false apostles as unbelievers and unrighteous ministers of satan. They discredited Paul’s apostolic authority through slander, lies, and deception. Righteousness is not compatible with lawlessness. Light is not compatible with darkness, Christ is not compatible with satan. Idolatry is not compatible with Christianity as Christians are temples of the Holy Spirit. Paul quoted Ezekiel 37:27.
Ezekiel 37:27, “My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
VV 17-18, 17 Therefore, “ come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” 18 “’ I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
Paul warned his audience to reject the false apostles by quoting Isaiah 52:11. We should be holy because God is holy. God is our Father and we are His children through spiritual regeneration and new birth, John 1:12.
Isaiah 52:11, “Depart! Depart! Go out from there, touch no unclean thing, go out from the midst of her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the Lord.”
John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”
Christians should not be unequally yoked with non-Christians in marriage, business partnership, or any other joint ventures. Christian values are not compatible with non-Christian values. Differences in objectives, opinions, perspectives, worldviews, and principles will lead to difficulties, complications, and failed relationships. Going against God’s advice will not be fruitful.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of salvation by grace through faith in Christ. Help us not to take your grace for granted. Thank You that in an acceptable time, You heard us, and in the day of salvation, You saved us, in Jesus’ name, Amen.