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. THIS TAKES PLACE WHEN IT IS NOT USED AT ALL — when the great salvation is neglected (ver. 2). In vain is it here, within the sphere of our knowledge and the grasp of our faith, if it be simply ignored. Here is gold in a casket or bag, and I am poor, and yet I will not unloose the strings or open the casket. Of what avail to me is that locked-up wealth? Here is seed-corn, and I have fields where it might be sown, yet I will not sow it. Of what avail to me is the seed, or the soil, the sun, or the shower? I am going on a journey through an unknown country, and here is a guide-book, yet I never open it, but go wandering on. That guide-book is as utterly "in vain" to me as if it were in the depths of the ocean. "Ah yes," you say, "but the grace of God is not so definite, so available, as the money," etc. Yes it is. It shines out in the light of every Sabbath day; it is the keynote of every true sermon; it is in every providence, whether dark or bright; it is everywhere, and always abundant, sufficient, and free. It is sad that many will not be persuaded of this. When the sleeping mind begins to awake; when the dull heart begins to feel, and the glad discovery breaks on the soul that all this is a present and sure gift of eternal love, then begins the actual reception of the manifold blessings of the gospel; but until then "the grace of God," with all its riches which we proclaim and set forth as common property, and free alike to all, is "in vain."
II. A THING IS RECEIVED IN VAIN IF IT IS PERVERTED AND TURNED TO SOME ALIEN USE.
1. It may be made a cloak for sin. The danger is that we magnify God's grace and slur over the evils of our own hearts.
2. It may be made a tent for indolence. Somehow we get the comfortable conviction that what has to be done in and by us will be done soon or late, and that we shall have full entrance at length into perfect purity and eternal life.
3. It may be made the signal for perpetual controversy. We are glad of controversy, in proper spirit and measure — it braces the soul; it clears the air; it defends and instrumentally perpetuates the truth among men. But there is hardly anything which runs more easily to excess, and becomes a perversion, and no longer a defence of the grace of God. The grace of God is gracious; and in its prevailing influence ought to lead us into gracious ways, and words, and dispositions.
III. IT IS RECEIVED ALMOST IN VAIN IF IT IS USED VERY LITTLE AND VERY IMPERFECTLY. This is the case with many Christian people. The plough is taken to the field, but does not plough the whole day; or it ploughs one little field, and leaves all the rest fallow. The seed-corn is cast in only in patches, and some of these but thinly sown. Here is a great world of grace brought down to us, waiting for us, and we may have as much or as little as we will.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.