Monday, April 5, 2010

2 Corinthians 6:1-10 (Thankful Servanthood)

Paul urges the Corinthians not to receive the grace of God in vain. How could this be done? Could Paul mean a mere superficial acceptance of the Gospel? Or maybe he means being saved and later losing that salvation? The answers to those questions are of course: no. Paul does not see someone receiving the Gospel only partially, and he argues that a person saved by the power of God can not undo that salvation in any way.

It may be that the enemies of Paul who have caused the churches to turn against Paul in the past are also at work here in Corinth. In that case we would see that –like the Galatians—the Corinthians have been swayed by teaching that demands they do something to validate or complete their salvation. Such a “grace + works” understanding of salvation causes one to think highly of ones own role in redemption. These people are no longer thankful for what has been done for them, but proud of what they are doing.

Instead, the Ministry of Reconciliation reminds us of our lowliness and our dependence on God’s grace. Suffering and trials are endured to bring God’s change into our own lives and into the world. Even in that ministry, the results are dependent on God and people’s own free will, not on anything the servant brings to the table. We proclaim; some will accept and some will not.

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