2 Corinthians 6
Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
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2 Corinthians 6
1 We then, [as] workers together [with him], beseech [you] also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 1Cor 3:9; 15:2; Gal. 3:4; 4:11; 5:1-4; 1Thes. 3:5; 1Tim. 5:12; 2Tim. 4:10; Heb 10:39; 12:15; 2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.) Isa 49:8; 3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: Rom 14:13; 1Cor 10:32; 4 But in all [things] approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, Mt. 24:9; 1Cor 4:1; 2Cor 11:23; 2Tim. 2:3; 3:11; 4:5; 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; Mt. 4:2; 6:616; 26:38; 27:26; Jn. 18:12; Acts 5:19; 12:4; 13:2,3; 16:23; 2Cor. 11:24; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, Jn. 8:46; 13:1; Mt. 17:17; 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, Mt. 4:4; 8:16; Lk. 4:36; Acts 10:36; Eph. 6:13-17; 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and [yet] true; Mt. 5:11; Jn. 7:12,45-47; 9 As unknown, and [yet] well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; Ps 118:18; Isa 26:19; Rev. 2:8; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and [yet] possessing all things. 2Cor. 8:9; Acts 3:6; Eph. 1:3;
11 O [ye] Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. 12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Jn. 5:40; 13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto [my] children,) be ye also enlarged. 1Cor 4:14; 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? Deut 7:2; 1Cor 5:9; 1Sam 5:1-2; 1Kgs 8:21; 1Cor 10:21; Eph 5:11; 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Isa. 52:11; Exod 29:45; Lev 26:11,12; Ezek 37:26,27; 1Cor 10:7; 1Cor 10:14; 1Cor 3:16; 1Cor 6:19; Eph 2:21; Heb 3:6; 1Pet 2:5; 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, Isa 52:11; 2Chr. 18:1; 19:2; Rev 18:4; 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2Sam. 7:14; 1Chr. 28:6; Jer 31:1,9; TOC
2 Corinthians 6 - We should not receive the grace of God in vain, having such promises of support from him, 2Co. 6:1, 2Co. 6:2. We should act so as to bring no disgrace on the Gospel, 2Co. 6:3. How the apostles behaved themselves, preached, suffered, and rejoiced, 2Co. 6:4-10. St. Paul’s affectionate concern for the Corinthians, 2Co. 6:11-13. He counsels them not to be yoked with unbelievers, and advances several arguments why they should avoid them, 2Co. 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, 2Co. 6:17, 2Co. 6:18 — Clarke
2 Corinthians 6 - Overview
2Co. 6:1, That he has approved himself a faithful minister of Christ by his exhortations, 2Co. 6:3, and by integrity of life, 2Co. 6:4, and by patient enduring all kinds of affliction and disgrace for the gospel; 2Co. 6:10, Of which he speaks the more boldly amongst them because his heart is open to them, 2Co. 6:13. and he expects the like affection from them again; 2Co. 6:14, exhorting them to flee the society and pollutions of idolaters, as being themselves temples of the living God. — TSK
The gospel is a word of grace sounding in our ears. The gospel day is a day of salvation, the means of grace the means of salvation, the offers of the gospel the offers of salvation, and the present time the proper time to accept these offers. The morrow is none of ours: we know not what will be on the morrow, nor where we shall be. We now enjoy a day of grace; then let all be careful not to neglect it. Ministers of the gospel should look upon themselves as God's servants, and act in every thing suitably to that character. The apostle did so, by much patience in afflictions, by acting from good principles, and by due temper and behaviour. Believers, in this world, need the grace of God, to arm them against temptations, so as to bear the good report of men without pride; and so as to bear their reproaches with patience. They have nothing in themselves, but possess all things in Christ. Of such differences is a Christian's life made up, and through such a variety of conditions and reports, is our way to heaven; and we should be careful in all things to approve ourselves to God. The gospel, when faithfully preached, and fully received, betters the condition even of the poorest. They save what before they riotously spent, and diligently employ their time to useful purposes. They save and gain by religion, and thus are made rich, both for the world to come and for this, when compared with their sinful, profligate state, before they received the gospel.
It is wrong for believers to join with the wicked and profane. The word unbeliever applies to all destitute of true faith. True pastors will caution their beloved children in the gospel, not to be unequally yoked. The fatal effects of neglecting Scripture precepts as to marriages clearly appear. Instead of a help meet, the union brings a snare. Those whose cross it is to be unequally united, without their wilful fault, may expect consolation under it; but when believers enter into such unions, against the express warnings of God's word, they must expect must distress. The caution also extends to common conversation. We should not join in friendship and acquaintance with wicked men and unbelievers. Though we cannot wholly avoid seeing and hearing, and being with such, yet we should never choose them for friends. We must not defile ourselves by converse with those who defile themselves with sin. Come out from the workers of iniquity, and separate from their vain and sinful pleasures and pursuits; from all conformity to the corruptions of this present evil world. If it be an envied privilege to be the son or daughter of an earthly prince, who can express the dignity and happiness of being sons and daughters of the Almighty? — MHCC
2Cor. 6:1-10: Here we see God's means of establishing apostolic type authority, under which new but complementary teachings to that which was written were added. God called men like Abraham to righteousness, and established this faith in His word and the righteousness of faith, and that he was thus a friend and man of God, by means of manifest supernatural attestation, part of which was Abraham begetting Israel as promised. Moses “the man of God” was also established as being just that by his Abrahamic type faith and holiness, and God's supernatural attestation, and who then wrote the Law and adding more revelation. (Ex. 24:4,27; Lv. 1:1; 7:37-38; 8:36; 10:11; 14:1-2; 26:46; 27:34; Num. 4:37,45,49; 9:23; 33:2; Dt. 31:9,22; Josh. 8:32; 14:2; 20:2; 21:2,8; 22:9; 23:6; Jdg. 3:4; 1Ki. 2:3; 8:53,56; 2Ki. 14:6; 2Chr. 23:18; 33:8; Neh. 9:14; Mk.7:10; 10:3–5; 12:19,26; Lk. 5:14; 16:29–31; 20:28; 24:27, 44; Jn. 5:45–47; 7:19, 23; Acts 3:22; Rm. 10:5) And by which writings further revelations were examined and substantiated by, and which is manifest as a principal. (Is. 8:20; Mt. 22:29-45; (Mk. 7:7-13; Lk. 24:27,44; Jn. 5:39,42; Acts 17:2,11; 18:28; 28:23; Heb. 1, etc.)
Later, Jesus Christ was established as being the Divine Son of God and Messiah by a holiness and doctrine which fulfilled and complemented those writings which were established as Divine, and by the mighty works which He did by the Holy Spirit. (Mt. 11:20; 22; Jn. 5:29; 14:11; Acts 10:38) And His resurrection was and is evidenced by its fulfillment of Scripture, and the supernatural changes realized by those who repent and believe, out of a poor and contrite heart, which faith and effects conform to the promises of Scripture. (Acts 1:3; 2:33,38,41,42; 8:38,39; 10:43-48; 16:15) And thus the authority of the apostles, who added new but complementary teachings to the Scriptures, was established by holiness and teaching which conformed to those men, and the revelation which was already established as from God, and by the manifest supernatural Divine attestation which accompanied them. (Acts 17:2,11; 28:23; 2Cor. 6:1-10; 12:12) Thus God established the faith, morality and words of men by His power, and which words became the standard by which all faith and morals and men are tested, while the testimony afforded them by Divine attestation, resulting from faith and obedience and which corresponds to the Scriptures, further attests to the Divine inspiration of the latter.
Likewise is the authority of the true church established insofar as its holiness and teaching conforms the only objective authority which is affirmed by the apostle to be wholly inspired of God, (2Tim. 3:16) and the supernatural Divine attestation of faith in His word, which begins with the effects of the new birth. While a claim to historical lineage was necessary for Moses and the Lord as regards fulfilling the Scriptures, and while being an eye-witness personal disciple of the Lord was evidently necessary to formally be an apostle, (Acts 1:21; 1Cor. 9:1) this is not the basis of authenticity for a true believer or true church under the New Covenant, any more than it is for that of a true Jew. (Mt. 3:9; Rm. 3:28,29) Rather, it is manifest Abrahamic-type faith in the “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) and its Christ, upon which faith, and by extension, the Object of such faith, that the church exists and has its members and attesting power and by which it endures. (Mt. 16:18,19; 1Cor. 5:4,5; 12:13; 1Pt. 1:5; 1Jn. 5:4,5)
In contrast, false churches are marked by holding another authority as superior to the Scriptures, and teaching for doctrines the commandments/traditions of men, (Mk. 7:6-13) and mainly only have a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof, while often preaching and promoting itself. This does not mean that there are not degrees in which a true church or believer may come short in holiness (as i do) or deviate somewhat in areas which are not the core essentials, but as the church has its members by faith in the gospel and its Christ, (1Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:13) and those who preach a gospel different from that which Paul preached are accursed, (Gal. 1:6-9) then the preaching (not merely affirming) of this gospel, with its manifest effects of regeneration, is what most essentially marks a valid church.
This gospel convicts men of sin, righteousness and judgment, (Jn. 16:8) debases man as a damned sinner utterly unable to escape his just punishment in Hell-fire or gain eternal life by the merit of his works or those of his church or anyone or anything else but the Lord Jesus Christ and His sinless shed blood, as it exalts God as infinitely holy and perfectly just, and yet sacrificially merciful and gracious. And thus the sinner who comes to Christ out of a broken (including of self-righteousness) heart and contrite spirit is exalted, lifted out of the miry clay, and the Lord establishes his goings, putting a joy in their heart, as they have tasted and seen that the Lord is good to them that trusteth in him. (Ps. 40:2,3; Acts 8:39; 10:46) and such a one characteristically continues in His Word, (Jn. 10:27,28; Heb. 5:9; 6:9,10) and repents when convicted of not being obedient. (Mt. 18:15-17; 2Cor. 7:9-11)
It is possible that individuals may see through the trappings of a false gospel or presentation to lay hold of the Lord Jesus for salvation, but depending upon the degree in which a church deviates from this gospel — which can be done by affirming it while effectually promoting confidence in ones own merits and that of the church for salvation — then the less likelihood there is that a true believer exists in such a church. And if one is saved within a church that is preaching a different gospel, then continuing in the Scriptures, which again is the only objective source which is assuredly wholly inspired of God, in yielding to the Holy Spirit will result in leaving that church for one that is more sound in word and practice, if possible. And only in rare cases (as i am in) is a believer outside a formal church, which age is not ended, and even then he will seek fellowship of believers.
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.
II. The arguments and method which the apostle used. And here he tells them,
1. The present time is the only proper season to accept of the grace that is offered, and improve that grace which is afforded: NOW is the accepted time, NOW is the day of salvation, 2Co. 6:2. The gospel day is a day of salvation, the means of grace the means of salvation, the offers of the gospel the offers of salvation, and the present time the only proper time to accept of these offers: Today, while it is called today. The morrow is none of ours: we know not what will be on the morrow, nor where we shall be; and we should remember that present seasons of grace are short and uncertain, and cannot be recalled when they are past. It is therefore our duty and interest to improve them while we have them, and no less than our salvation depends upon our so doing.
2. What caution they used not to give offence that might hinder the success of their preaching: Giving no offence in any thing, 2Co. 6:3. The apostle had great difficulty to behave prudently and inoffensively towards the Jews and Gentiles, for many of both sorts watched for his halting, and sought occasion to blame him and his ministry, or his conversation; therefore he was very cautious not to give offence to those who were so apt to take offence, that he might not offend the Jews by unnecessary zeal against the law, nor the Gentiles by unnecessary compliances with such as were zealous for the law. He was careful, in all his words and actions, not to give offence, or occasion of guilt or grief. Note, When others are too apt to take offence, we should be cautious lest we give offence; and ministers especially should be careful lest they do any thing that may bring blame on their ministry or render that unsuccessful.
3. Their constant aim and endeavor in all things to approve themselves faithful, as became the ministers of God, 2Co. 6:4. We see how much stress the apostle upon all occasions lays on fidelity in our work, because much of our success depends upon that. His eye was single, and his heart upright, in all his ministrations; and his great desire was to be the servant of God, and to approve himself so. Note, Ministers of the gospel should look upon themselves as God's servants or ministers, and act in every thing suitably to that character. So did the apostle, (1.) By much patience in afflictions. He was a great sufferer, and met with many afflictions, was often in necessities, and wanted the conveniences, if not the necessaries, of life; in distresses, being straitened on every side, hardly knowing what to do; in stripes often (2Co. 11:24); in imprisonments; in tumults raised by the Jews and Gentiles against him; in labours, not only in preaching the gospel, but in travelling from place to place for that end, and working with his hands to supply his necessities; in watchings and in fastings, either voluntary or upon a religious account, or involuntary for the sake of religion: but he exercised much patience in all, 2Co. 6:4, 2Co. 6:5. Note, [1.] It is the lot of faithful ministers often to be reduced to great difficulties, and to stand in need of much patience. [2.] Those who would approve themselves to God must approve themselves faithful in trouble as well as in peace, not only in doing the work of God diligently, but also in bearing the will of God patiently. (2.) By acting from good principles. The apostle went by a good principle in all he did, and tells them what his principles were (2Co. 6:6, 2Co. 6:7); namely, pureness; and there is no piety without purity. A care to keep ourselves unspotted from the world is necessary in order to our acceptance with God. Knowledge was another principle; and zeal without this is but madness. He also acted with long-suffering and kindness, being not easily provoked, but bearing with the hardness of men's hearts, and hard treatment from their hands, to whom he kindly endeavoured to do good. He acted under the influence of the Holy Ghost, from the noble principle of unfeigned love, according to the rule of the word of truth, under the supports and assistances of the power of God, having on the armour of righteousness (a consciousness of universal righteousness and holiness), which is the best defence against the temptations of prosperity on the right hand, and of adversity on the left. (3.) By a due temper and behaviour under all the variety of conditions in this world, 2Co. 6:8-10. We must expect to meet with many alterations of our circumstances and conditions in this world; and it will be a great evidence of our integrity if we preserve a right temper of mind, and duly behave ourselves, under them all. The apostles met with honour and dishonour, good report and evil report: good men in this world must expect to meet with some dishonour and reproaches, to balance their honour and esteem; and we stand in need of the grace of God to arm us against the temptations of honour on the one hand, so as to bear good report without pride, and of dishonour on the other hand, so as to bear reproaches without impatience or recrimination. It should seem that persons differently represented the apostles in their reports; that some represented them as the best, and others as the worst, of men: by some they were counted deceivers, and run down as such; by others as true, preaching the gospel of truth, and men who were true to the trust reposed in them. They were slighted by the men of the world as unknown, men of no figure or account, not worth taking notice of; yet in all the churches of Christ they were well known, and of great account: they were looked upon as dying, being killed all the day long, and their interest was thought to be a dying interest; “and yet behold,” says the apostle, “we live, and live comfortably, and bear up cheerfully under all our hardships, and go on conquering and to conquer.” They were chastened, and often fell under the lash of the law, yet not killed: and though it was thought that they were sorrowful, a company of mopish and melancholy men, always sighing and mourning, yet they were always rejoicing in God, and had the greatest reason to rejoice always. They were despised as poor, upon the account of their poverty in this world; and yet they made many rich, by preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ. They were thought to have nothing, and silver and gold they had none, houses and lands they had none; yet they possessed all things: they had nothing in this world, but they had a treasure in heaven. Their effects lay in another country, in another world. They had nothing in themselves, but possessed all things in Christ. Such a paradox is a Christian's life, and through such a variety of conditions and reports lies our way to heaven; and we should be careful in all these things to approve ourselves to God.
The apostle proceeds to address himself more particularly to the Corinthians, and cautions them against mingling with unbelievers. Here observe,
I. How the caution is introduced with a profession, in a very pathetic manner, of the most tender affection to them, even like that of a father to his children, 2Co. 6:11-13. Though the apostle was happy in a great fluency of expressions, yet he seemed to want words to express the warm affections he had for these Corinthians. As if he had said, “O ye Corinthians, to whom I am now writing, I would fain convince you how well I love you: we are desirous to promote the spiritual and eternal welfare of all to whom we preach, yet our mouth is open unto you, and our heart is enlarged unto you, in a special manner.” And, because his heart was thus enlarged with love to them, therefore he opened his mouth so freely to them in kind admonitions and exhortations: “You are not,” says he, “straitened in us; we would gladly do you all the service we can, and promote your comfort, as helpers of your faith and your joy; and, if it be otherwise, the fault is in yourselves; it is because you are straitened in yourselves, and fail in suitable returns to us, through some misapprehensions concerning us; and all we desire as a recompense is only that you would be proportionably affected towards us, as children should love their father.” Note, It is desirable that there should be a mutual good affection between ministers and their people, and this would greatly tend to their mutual comfort and advantage.
II. The caution or exhortation itself, not to mingle with unbelievers, not to be unequally yoked with them, 2Co. 6:14. Either,
1. In stated relations. It is wrong for good people to join in affinity with the wicked and profane; these will draw different ways, and that will be galling and grievous. Those relations that are our choice must be chosen by rule; and it is good for those who are themselves the children of God to join with those who are so likewise; for there is more danger that the bad will damage the good than hope that the good will benefit the bad.
2. In common conversation. We should not yoke ourselves in friendship and acquaintance with wicked men and unbelievers. Though we cannot wholly avoid seeing, and hearing, and being with such, yet we should never choose them for our bosom-friends.
3. Much less should we join in religious communion with them; we must not join with them in their idolatrous services, nor concur with them in their false worship, nor any abominations; we must not confound together the table of the Lord and the table of devils, the house of God and the house of Rimmon. The apostle gives several good reasons against this corrupt mixture. (1.) It is a very great absurdity, 2Co. 6:14, 2Co. 6:15. It is an unequal yoking of things together that will not agree together; as bad as for the Jews to have ploughed with an ox and an ass or to have sown divers sorts of grain intermixed. What an absurdity is it to think of joining righteousness and unrighteousness, or mingling light and darkness, fire and water, together! Believers are, and should be, righteous; but unbelievers are unrighteous. Believers are made light in the Lord, but unbelievers are in darkness; and what comfortable communion can these have together? Christ and Belial are contrary one to the other; they have opposite interests and designs, so that it is impossible there should be any concord or agreement between them. It is absurd, therefore, to think of enlisting under both; and, if the believer has part with an infidel, he does what in him lies to bring Christ and Belial together. (2.) It is a dishonour to the Christian's profession (2Co. 6:16); for Christians are by profession, and should be in reality, the temples of the living God - dedicated to, and employed for, the service of God, who has promised to reside in them, to dwell and walk in them, to stand in a special relation to them, and take a special care of them, that he will be their God and they shall be his people. Now there can be no agreement between the temple of God and idols. Idols are rivals with God for his honour, and God is a jealous God, and will not give his glory to another. (3.) There is a great deal of danger in communicating with unbelievers and idolators, danger of being defiled and of being rejected; therefore the exhortation is (2Co. 6:17) to come out from among them, and keep at a due distance, to be separate, as one would avoid the society of those who have the leprosy or the plague, for fear of taking infection, and not to touch the unclean thing, lest we be defiled. Who can touch pitch, and not be defiled by it? We must take care not to defile ourselves by converse with those who defile themselves with sin; so is the will of God, as we ever hope to be received, and not rejected, by him. (4.) It is base ingratitude to God for all the favours he has bestowed upon believers and promised to them, 2Co. 6:18. God has promised to be a Father to them, and that they shall be his sons and his daughters; and is there a greater honour or happiness than this? How ungrateful a thing then must it be if those who have this dignity and felicity should degrade and debase themselves by mingling with unbelievers! Do we thus requite the Lord, O foolish and unwise? — Henry
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