The Bible wasn’t written with chapters and verses. Books of the Bible were written as a whole, and chapters and verses were only added in the 15th century to help us with referencing. And so, Paul writes 2 Corinthians chapter 5 telling us that we are new creations in Christ, with a new life; we’ve been appointed as representatives of Jesus and been given the ministry of reconciliation, and we’re qualified for the job because He has made us righteous. Then comes the next chapter,
“We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 NKJV
I like how the New Living Translation puts it, “As God’s partners…” The English Standard Version says, “Working together with Him…” What a privilege we have to be called God’s partners in His rescue mission to reach the world with His gospel. We are so privileged to have such a significant purpose and destiny – to share God’s unconditional love and grace with the world and see people grow in relationship with Him.
Then Paul (the writer of Corinthians pleads with us “not to receive the grace of God in vain.” What does that mean? It means that we shouldn’t receive God’s grace to no purpose, without success, to no avail, or fruitlessly. You see, the grace of God produces life in us and through us. God’s grace (His undeserved favour) is what produces joy, blessing and purpose (1 Corinthians; Galatians ). And so, “receiving the grace of God in vain” would mean that it isn’t accomplishing what it should and what God desires it should.
“Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 6:1 MSG
The Message Bible says we shouldn’t “squander” what God has given us. To squander means to “waste (something, especially money or time) in a reckless and foolish manner.” You don’t usually squander something on someone else – that would be generosity. You squander something on yourself; it’s a selfish and self-centered exercise.
What Paul is communicating here is that we’ve been given so much in Christ. We’re completely new (forgiven, freed and blessed) and we have been made 100% righteous by faith (it’s got nothing to do with our actions); we’ve got so much because of God’s amazing grace – we have God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Paul is begging us not to squander it on ourselves because “…behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Yes, God wants you blessed, well-looked-after and all of that, but we shouldn’t just be using grace so that we feel good and have what we need and desire. People are perishing every day. People are in desperate need to hear about the grace of God and have the opportunity to receive it so that they won’t die without God and perish in hell forever (Romans 10:13-15). When we experience God’s unconditional love and grace it should propel us forward in wanting to tell others and invite them to experience it, too. God didn’t play it safe and stay in heaven. No. He so loved us that He sent Jesus to rescue the world from perishing. Jesus has done His part, and He has delegated a part to us (believers). Jesus so loved the world that He has sent you and I, to give people the opportunity to hear the message and receive His love and grace. Don’t squander His grace. It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Acts 1:8; Acts)