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2 Corinthians 6 Commentary

A verse by verse commentary with quotations from many different authors.
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  2 CORITHIAS 6 COMMETARY Edited by Glenn Pease 1. As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. 1. BARES,  We then, as workers together with him - On the meaning of this expression, see the note, 1Co_3:9. The Greek here is ( συνεργοντες   sunergountes ) “working together,” and may mean either that the apostles and ministers to whom Paul refers were joint-laborers in entreating them not to receive the grace of God in vain; or it may mean that they cooperated with God, or were engaged with him in endeavoring to secure the reconciliation of the world to himself. Tyndale renders it: “we as helpers.” Doddridge, “we then as the joint-laborers of God.” Most expositors have concurred in this interpretation. The word properly means, to work together; to cooperate in producing any result. Macknight supposes that the word here is in the vocative, and is an address to the fellow-laborers of Paul, entreating them not to receive the grace of God in  vain. In this opinion he is probably alone, and has manifestly departed from the scope and design of the passage. Probably the most obvious meaning is that of our translators,  who regard it as teaching that Paul was a joint-worker with God in securing the salvation of people. That ye receive not the grace of God in vain - The “grace of God” here means evidently the gracious offer of reconciliation and pardon. And the sense is, “We entreat  you not to neglect or slight this offer of pardon, so as to lose the benefit of it, and be lost. It is offered freely and fully. It may be partaken of by all, and all may be saved. But it may also be slighted, and all the benefits of it will then be lost.” The sense is, that it was possible that this offer might be made to them, they might hear of a Saviour, be told of the plan of reconciliation and have the offers of mercy pressed on their attention and acceptance, and yet all be in vain. They might notwithstanding all this be lost, for simply to hear of the plan of salvation or the offers of mercy, will no more save a sinner than to hear of medicine will save the sick. It must be embraced and applied, or it will be in vain. It is true that Paul probably addressed this to those who were professors of religion; and the sense is, that they should use all possible care and anxiety lest these offers should have been made in vain. They should examine their own hearts; they should inquire into their own condition; they should guard against self-deception. The same persons 2Co_5:20Paul had exhorted also to be reconciled to God; and the idea is, that he would earnestly entreat even professors of religion to give all diligence to secure an interest in the saving mercy of the gospel, and to guard against the possibility of being self-deceived and ruined. 2. CLARKE,  We then, as workers together with him - Συνεργουντες δε και  παρακαλουµεν . The two last words, with him, are not in the text, and some supply the place thus: we then, as workers together With You, and the Armenian version seems to have read it so; but no MS. has this reading, and no other version. For my own part I see nothing wanting in the text if we only suppose the term apostles; we, (i.e. apostles),  being fellow workers, also entreat you not to receive the grace of God in vain.By the grace of God,  την χαριν του Θεου , this grace or benefit of God, the apostle certainly means the grand sacrificial offering of Christ for the sin of the world, which he had just before mentioned in speaking of the ministry of reconciliation. We learn, therefore, that it was possible to receive the grace of God and not ultimately benefit by it; or, in other words, to begin in the Spirit and end in the flesh. Should any one say that it is the ministry of reconciliation, that is, the benefit of apostolic preaching, that they might receive in vain; I answer, that the apostolic preaching, and the whole ministry of reconciliation, could be no benefit to any man farther than it might have been a means of conveying to him the salvation of God. And it is most evident that the apostle has in view that grace or benefit that reconciles us to God, and makes us Divinely righteous. And this, and all other benefits of the death of Christ, may be received in vain. 3. GILL,  We then, as workers together with him ,.... The ministers of the Gospel are workers or labourers; their ministry is a work, and a very laborious one, which none have strength equal to, and are sufficient for; of themselves: it is a work that requires faithfulness and diligence, is honourable; and those who perform it aright deserve respect. These do not work alone: according to our version, they are workers together  with him ; meaning either God or Christ, not as co-ordinate with him, but as subordinate to him: he is the chief shepherd, they under ones; he is the chief master  builder, they under workers; but inasmuch as he is with them, and they with him, he is over them, and stands by them, great honour is done them; they have encouragement to  work; and hence it is that their work is successful. Though the phrase, with him , is not in the srcinal text, where only one word, συνεργουντες , is used, and may be rendered fellow workers , or fellow labourers , meaning with one another: and since therefore reconciliation was made by Christ, and the ministry of it was committed to them, and they were appointed ambassadors for him, and were in his stead, therefore, say they,  we beseech you also ; you ministers also; as we have entreated the members of the church, to be reconciled to the order of the Gospel, and the laws of Christ in his house, so as fellow labourers with you, and jointly concerned in the same embassy of peace, we  beseech you the ministers of the word in this church, that ye receive not the grace of God in vain : by the grace of God , is not meant the grace of God in regeneration, and effectual calling, which can never be received in  vain; for the grace of God never fails of producing a thorough work of conversion; nor is it ever lost, but is strictly connected with eternal, glory: but by it is meant either the doctrine of grace, the Gospel of Christ, so called, because it is a declaration of the love and grace of God to sinners, ascribes salvation in part, and in whole, to the free grace of God, and is a means of implanting and increasing grace in the hearts of men. Now this may be received in vain by ministers and people, when it is but notionally received, or received in word only: when it is abused and perverted to vile purposes, and when men drop, deny it, and fall off from it; or else by the grace of God may be designed gifts of grace, qualifying for ministerial service; and the sense of the exhortation be, that they be  careful that the gifts bestowed on them might not be neglected by them, but be used and improved to the advantage of the church, and the glory of Christ; by giving up themselves to study, meditation, and prayer, by labouring constantly in the word and doctrine, and by having a strict regard to their lives and conversations, that the ministry  be not blamed ; which exhortation he pursues in, and by his own example and others, in some following verses, the next being included in a parenthesis . 4. HERY, In these verses we have an account of the apostle's general errand and exhortation to all to whom he preached in every place where he came, with the several arguments and methods he used. Observe,I. The errand or exhortation itself, namely, to comply with the gospel offers of reconciliation - that, being favoured with the gospel, they would not receive this grace of God in vain, 2Co_6:1. The gospel is a word of grace sounding in our ears; but it will be in  vain for us to hear it, unless we believe it, and comply with the end and design of it. And as it is the duty of the ministers of the gospel to exhort and persuade their hearers to accept of grace and mercy which are offered to them, so they are honoured with this high title of co-workers with  God. Note, 1. They must work; and must work for God and his glory, for souls and their good: and they are workers with God, yet under him, as instruments only; however, if they be faithful, they may hope to find God working with them, and their labour will be effectual. 2. Observe the language and way of the spirit of the gospel: it is not with roughness and severity, but with all mildness and gentleness, to  beseech and entreat, to use exhortations and arguments, in order to prevail with sinners and overcome their natural unwillingness to be reconciled to God and to be happy for ever. 5. JAMISO, 2Co_6:1-18.  His apostolic ministry is approved by faithfulness in exhortation, in sufferings, in exhibition of the fruits of the Holy Ghost: His largeness of heart to them calls for enlargement of their heart to him. Exhortations to separation  from pollution.  workers together — with God ( Act_15:4; 1Co_3:9). Not only as “ambassadors.”  beseech — entreat (2Co_5:20). He is describing his ministry, not exhorting directly.  you also — rather, “WE ALSO (as well as God, 2Co_5:20) beseech” or “entreat you”: 2Co_6:14, 2Co_6:15, on to 2Co_7:1, is part of this entreaty or exhortation. in vain — by making the grace of God a ground for continuance in sin (2Co_6:3). By a life of sin, showing that the word of reconciliation has been in vain,  so far as you are concerned (Heb_12:15; Jud_1:4). “The grace of God” here, is “the reconciliation” provided by God’s love (2Co_5:18, 2Co_5:19; compare Gal_2:2). 5b. CALVIN, Assisting. He has repeated the instructions of embassy with which the ministers of the gospel have been furnished by God. After they have faithfully communicated these instructions, they must also use their endeavor, that they may be carried into effect, 572 in order that their labor may not be in vain. They must, I say, add continual exhortation’s, 573 that their embassy may be efficacious. This is what he means by συνεργοῦντες, (fellow-workers,) that is, devoted to the advancement of the  work; for it is not enough to teach, if you do not also urge. In this way, the particle σῦν  would have a relation to God, or to the embassy, which he assigns to his servants. For the doctrine of the gospel is helped by exhortations, so as not to be without effect, and ministers connect their endeavors with God’s commission; 574 as it is the part of an  ambassador to enforce by arguments, what he brings forward in the name of his prince.The particle σῦν may also be taken as referring to the endeavors of ministers in common; for if they do the Lord’s work in good earnest, they must mutually lend a helping hand to each other, so as to give assistance to each other. I rather prefer, however, the former exposition. Chrysostom interprets it as referring to the hearers,  with whom ministers are fellow-workers, when they rouse them up from slothfulness and indolence.Ministers are here taught, that it is not enough simply to advance doctrine. They must also labor that it may be received by the hearers, and that not once merely, but continually. For as they are messengers between God and men, the first duty devolving upon them is, to make offer of the grace of God, 575 and the second is, to strive with all their might, that it may not be offered in vain. 6. BI,  Workers together Once when a number of employees were invited down to Mr.George Moore’s country house, Mrs. Moore, going out one morning, met a venerable man standing and staring about him with astonishment at the gardens and buildings. “Are you looking for somebody?” asked Mrs. Moore. “No,” said he, “I am just looking round about, and thinking what a fine place it is, and how we helped to make it; I have really a great pride in it.” Then, with tears in his eyes, he told how he was the first porter for the firm forty years ago, and how they had all worked hard together. (  H. O. Mackey. ) The preaching and reception of the Gospel Consider— I. The admonishers. 1. Not loiterers, but labourers; therefore they are often compared to husbandmen,  builders, soldiers, and fishermen. They who imagine that the ministry of the gospel is an easy work are greatly mistaken. 2. “Workers together.” (1)  With God. They are engaged in the same cause with Him who “would have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Without Him they can do nothing. Melancthon began with too much confidence in himself, and after many fruitless exertions, said, “Old Adam is too strong for young Melancthon.” But old Adam is not too strong for the God of all grace, who hath said to His ministers, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” (2)  But the words “with Him” are in italics, and may be omitted. As if He had said, we differ in our abilities, modes of preaching, etc., and there are some who take advantage of this to form divisions, and say, “I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas”; whereas we are fellow-workers. II. The subject of their address. 1.  What are we to understand by “the grace of God”? (1)  The source of the gospel. Was it not “free” in every sense of the word! (2)  Its subject. The gospel is an offer of free, full, and everlasting salvation to
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