2 Corinthians 6:1
We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that you receive not the grace of God in vain.
I. THE MEANING OF THE APOSTLE'S CAUTION.
1. What is meant here by grace? Sometimes it denotes the free and unmerited love of God in redemption (Titus 2:11). Sometimes the gospel generally (John 1:17). Sometimes all the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 12:9). But in the text the word includes not only all the overtures of grace which God has made, but all those ministries by which those overtures may be most easily accepted.
2. Now such is the perverseness of man's will that all these means and ministries may be offered to him to no purpose. The injured Father of our spirits may stretch out His hand, and find there is none to regard it.
(1) Take the instrumentality of the Word. Grace is received in vain.
(a) When the Word is not received in the love of it. Now no place is left for any possible deficiency in the Word itself; in its evidence, that it is not strong enough; in its statements, that they are not clear enough; in its motives, that they are not encouraging enough. It is of no use saying, "I cannot see these things in the same light as others do," for we answer, "You do not see them because you have never honestly tried to see them, never put up the prayer in earnest, 'Lord open Thou mine eyes that I may see the wondrous things of Thy law.'"(b) When we neglect to apply the gospel message to our own heart and conscience. To have received the incorruptible seed in barrenness is to have received the grace of God in vain.
(2) And so of those communications of divine grace which come to us apart from the agency of the Word. The Holy Spirit speaks to the ear of the inner man by the lessons of Providence, by the ministries of friendship, and the incidents of common life, etc. And to check these inner convictions, as Agrippa did, or to dismiss them, as Felix did, is to receive the grace of God in vain.
II. IT IS A REAL OPTION WITH US WHETHER THIS GRACE OF GOD BE RECEIVED IN VAIN OR NOT. It is practically competent to every one to use such means as shall facilitate the effectual influence of grace upon our minds. The best answer to the man who should object that he could do nothing towards his own salvation because he is not the subject of divine grace, is that he does not believe in his own objection, would not act upon it if accident or sudden sickness should threaten him with the probability that he might die to-morrow. And herein it is that the sinner will be condemned out of his own month. Never mind how much or how little he could do towards the making of his peace with God, has he done all he could? He could not cause the glorious light of the gospel to shine into his heart, but was he compelled to close the door against the entrance of that light? Though the ordinances and instrumentalities of grace have the most perfect adaptation to our state and character, they yet demand all the concurrence of our own moral effort, to work within us a saving result.
(D. Moore, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.