2 Corinthians 6

Note: The church at Corinth failed to appreciate the work that Paul had done among them. Instead, they embraced the Judaizers who had infiltrated the church. Paul, therefore, was forced to defend himself and reminded the Corinthians of his personal ministry among them. After all, it was Paul who had founded the church at Corinth and not the Judaizers. Paul did not write these words to beg for praise from the Corinthians but to remind them that his ministry to them had cost him dearly. He had paid a price the Judaizers were unwilling to pay.

6:1 And working together with Him [“as God’s fellow workers” (NIV)], we also urge [Paul could have issued a command but instead asked diplomatically] you not to receive [by believing in Jesus] the grace [God’s undeserved favor] of God in vain [possibly an exhortation to the Corinthians to take God’s grace seriously by taking the demands of the gospel seriously, by living up to their profession of faith in Christ]

6:2 [it is likely that not all of those who professed to be Christians at Corinth were actually saved] for He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you [cf. Isaiah 49:8-12, 23-26 regarding prediction that God would one day bring His people out of their exile in Babylon].” Behold, now [today; cf. Isa. 55:6; no guarantee that we will have tomorrow; this word conveys a sense of urgency; someone said, “Today is a gift. That’s why they call it ‘the present.’”] is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation” [because God had sent His Son to earth]

6:3 giving no cause for offense in anything [Paul was aware that others were watching his life; the inconsistent life of a professing Christian is a great hindrance to the gospel], so that the ministry will not be discredited [Paul did not want to do anything that might discredit or distract from the gospel message or cause others to ridicule God or His servants; “Lord. don’t let me be a stumbling block to those who trust in You. Don’t let me confuse those who are seeking after You.” (Ps. 69:6)],

Focus on Endurance and Stamina

6:4 but in everything [Paul listed some of the things he had endured in order to remain faithful to Christ] commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, [note some of the involuntary hardships Paul endured for the sake of the gospel…] in afflictions [trials under pressure; a general term for a variety of difficulties (none of which could separate him from God’s love as per Rom. 8:37-39); cf. Acts 9:15-16 re Christ’s warning to Paul that he would suffer greatly], in hardships [necessities], in distresses [from a Greek word meaning “a narrow place”],

6:5 [Paul listed some of the specific difficulties he had endured for Jesus (see also 2 Cor. 11:22-33)] [notice three things Paul endured because of the opposition of people…] in beatings [see 2 Cor. 11:23-25], in imprisonments [see Acts 16:23-24; Paul always mace the most of whatever circumstances he was in (see Phil. 1:12-14)], in tumults [Paul; faced angry mobs more than once on his missionary journeys (see Acts 13:49-52; 14:5-6; 14:19; 16:19-24; 17:5; 19:23-41], [note some of the voluntary hardships Paul endured for the sake of the gospel… ] in labors [Paul worked hard and did not want to burden those he ministered to (2 Cor. 11:9)], in sleeplessness [see 1 Thess 2:9 re Paul working night and day in Thessalonica; perhaps Paul also lost sleep because of his concern for the churches as per 2 Cor. 11:28], in hunger [perhaps to not be a financial burden to those top whom was ministering],

Note: Paul did not allow his circumstances to discourage him. Instead, he saw every circumstance as an opportunity to advance the gospel. He always looked for ways to turn bad situations into good ones. Our response to circumstances reflects what we believe about God. We should always look for ways to demonstrate our faith even in the worst of circumstances.

Focus on Godly Personal Attributes

6:6 [Paul listed five character traits of an effective minister of the gospel] [1] in purity [in thought and deed; moral cleanliness; see Phil. 4:8; as opposed to false teachers who were motivated by greed and self-interest], [2] in knowledge [Paul understood the gospel message and how to communicate it clearly], [3] in patience [Paul had learned patience through the various trials he had endured], [4] in kindness [Paul was gracious and kind and learned to put the needs of others above his own; Phil. 2:3-4], in the Holy Spirit [the source of power for being an effective minister of the gospel], [5] in genuine love [Paul always tried to demonstrate the same kind of selfless and sacrificial love that Christ had sown],

Note: Our life should prove our message. We should always consider what our actions communicate to others about Jesus Christ (Illustration Poem: You Are Writing a Gospel). We should never allow our careless or undisciplined actions cause others to reject Christ.

Focus on Ministry Tools

6:7 in the word of truth [Paul faithfully preached the truth of the gospel in all circumstances], in the power of God [Paul demonstrated the power of God as he preached and lived out the message of the gospel]; by the weapons [a shield and a sword like a Roman soldier; see Eph. 6:10-18] of righteousness for the right hand [Roman soldiers wielded their sword with their right hand; sword used to attack] and the left [Roman soldiers carried shield in left hand; shield used to defend],

Focus on Maintaining a Kingdom Perspective

6:8 [Paul served God…] by glory [whether people honored or liked him] and dishonor [even if people dishonored and disliked him], by evil report [false teachers often said bad things about Paul, slandered him, and attacked his authority in order to gain advantage among the Corinthians (see 2 Cor. 10:10-11)] and good report [whether insulted or flattered, Paul was intent on preaching the gospel]; regarded as deceivers [by those who opposed Paul] and yet true [Paul always remained true to his calling and always preached the truth of the gospel in spite of opposition];

6:9 as unknown [those who opposed Paul treated him as an unknown and considered his message foolishness (see Acts 17:18-21; 32-33)] yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished [see 2 Cor. 1:8 re Paul facing death for preaching the gospel] yet not put to death [see story pf Paul being stones in Acts 14:19-20 and yet living and moving on to continue preaching the gospel],

6:10 as sorrowful [Paul’s heart ached over the welfare of the churches] yet always rejoicing [Paul rejoiced because he knew God could use suffering to make churches and believers stronger], as poor [Paul had no earthly riches; Paul supported himself by making tents so that he could preach the gospel without being a financial burden on others (see Acts 18:1-5)] yet making many rich [by introducing them to the riches of the gospel], as having nothing yet possessing all things.

6:11 [in spite of how the Corinthians had treated Paul, he loved hem dearly and asked them to open their hearts to him] Our mouth has spoken freely [Paul had been straightforward and honest in his communication with the Corinthians; his critics were accusing him of having done otherwise] to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide [Paul spoke very honestly about his failures and shortcomings].

6:12 You are not restrained by us [Paul, the founder of the Corinthian church, and his companions had not withheld their affections from the Corinthians], but [unlike Paul and his coworkers] you are restrained in your own affections [the Corinthians were withholding their affection from Paul; they had believed the worst about Paul; the Corinthians criticized Paul’s preaching (1 Cor 2:1-4; 2 Cor. 11:6), Paul’s writing (2 Cor. 1:13), and Paul’s behavior among them (2 Cor. 1:14).].

6:13 Now in a like exchange [with the same sincerity and openness with which Paul had opened up to the Corinthians]—I speak as to children [Paul had a right to speak to them in this way as the father of the church on Corinth]—open wide to us also [Paul urged the Corinthians to open their hearts to him].

6:14 Do not [this exhortation also applies to marriage] be bound together [yoked, as with animals harnessed together] with unbelievers [and especially any immoral and unethical practices; lest this kind of union weaken their commitment to Christ]; for what partnership [be careful lest partnership result in compromise of Christian morals] have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness [this admonition was intended to guard the Corinthians from any situation that would compromise their beliefs]?

6:15 Or what harmony [there are ethical and moral differences between the two] has Christ with Belial [from Greek word derived from Hebrew word that means “worthless” or “lawless”; only place this word used in NT; Belial is the Devil], or what has a believer [who resides in the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col. 1:13); recognizes God’s authority] in common with an unbeliever [who resides in the kingdom of darkness (Col. 1:13); does not recognize God’s authority]?

6:16 Or what agreement has the temple of God [a reference to the community of faith] with idols [there were many temples to pagan deities in Corinth]? For we [not a building] are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in [specifies nearness] them and walk among [specifies nearness] them; And [as prophesied by Ezekiel (37:26-28) re the time when God would give among His people] I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

6:17 “Therefore, [note this positive command; cf. Isa. 52:11 where this was a command to the exiles to leave Babylon without anything associated with pagan worship] come out from their midst and be separate [separation in this case helps ensure safety],” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean [sinful]; And I will welcome you [cf. Ezek. 20:34].

6:18 “And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters [cf. Isa. 43:6; through Christ, we have become a part of God’s loving family] to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.

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