2 Corinthians 6:1 As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.
This is a very interesting, and potentially very tragic, entreaty. It assumes a reality that far too many people don’t want to admit is possible: that God’s grace can do us no good. Jesus indeed died for the sins of all mankind, but if we don’t believe that and respond to it in repentance, it does us no good. The devil frequently tells people that “A loving God wouldn’t send people to hell,” ignoring the reality that we are headed for hell in the first place, and God’s grace is an unearned intervention. Some people go through the motions of accepting Jesus as Lord, but then turn around and act as though they deserved salvation in the first place, so it’s no big deal. That is actually denying the reality of the cross. There literally could be no bigger deal than the Son of God taking your sins on Himself and dying in your place. Grasping that should shift our focus from the material to the spiritual, from the temporal to the eternal, just as yesterday’s reading said. When we fail to make that shift we miss out on so much, even if our faith itself might be sufficient for salvation. We are not to think we are judges of who is saved and who isn’t, but we are to avoid what my grandfather called “easy believism.” By that he meant the common practice of someone going through the motions of saying pious words and getting wet, without any real repentance and heart change. He also called that “into bliss and out of blister,” referring to the whole “ticket to heaven” mentality. Far too many people are “like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.” (Hebrews 12:16) We tend to value the things and pleasures of this world far too much, putting ourselves in danger of missing out on what is far more valuable.
I can hardly say I’ve never been there, when I think about this issue. I think of myself as an instrument of God’s grace, seeking to share the Gospel with all who will receive it, but I too am tempted by all sorts of things that have no eternal value. I must not be someone who fails to live by what I teach! My message will be effective only if I am putting it into practice myself. I desire indeed to be a “fellow-worker with God,” to whatever degree He allows His power to operate through me, but for that to happen I’ve got to realize, on the deepest level, that I couldn’t begin to deserve that. I need to live in continuous awareness of the miracle that is God’s grace, in the full obedience that comes from gratitude.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for all You are doing in, around, and through me. Help me stay submitted and available at all times, useful and pleasing to You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!