Receiving God’s Grace in Vain

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 ESV

“Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says,

‘In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

What is God’s Grace?

The apostles were working together with the Lord in cooperation with him and in the ministry to which the Lord had called them. So, they were speaking for the Lord as his ambassadors when they appealed to the church in Corinth to not receive the grace of God in vain. So, what does that mean?

Well, “in vain” means “empty, ineffective, foolish, worthless, false, unreal, pretentious and hollow.” So they were urging those professing faith in Jesus Christ to not receive the grace of God pretentiously or falsely or ineffectually to where it has no effect in their lives in changing who they are or how they live or what they do. So, it is obviously possible for this to take place.

So, what is the grace of God? It is his favor towards us which is undeserved. It is a gift from God and it is not of ourselves. And it includes the faith to believe in Jesus Christ and to turn away from our lives of sin to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his ways. For we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ (Eph 2:8-10; Jn 6:44).

And it begins with God the Father sending his only begotten Son Jesus Christ to the earth to take on human flesh and then to suffer and to die on that cross. For when Jesus hung on that cross, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co 5:21). He put our sins to death with him so we might die with him to sin and live to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24). He died to free us from addiction to sin.

So his grace is also his gift of salvation from sin and eternal life with God, but this goes beyond just forgiveness of sins and the hope of heaven when we die. For by faith in Jesus Christ we are crucified with him in death to sin and we are raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self is put to death with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).

And so God’s grace to us is not just a “get-out-of-jail-free-card.” And it is definitely not carte blanche for us to continue living in deliberate and habitual sin now that we think all of our sins have been forgiven (1 Jn 3:4-10). And it is not just a free ride to heaven. For his grace instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return (Titus 2:11-14).

Receiving God’s Grace in Vain

So, if we “receive” God’s grace “in vain,” then we are not really receiving it, are we? For the receiving of it isn’t genuine. It is a pretentious receiving of his grace which is probably not really his grace, either, but it is what some humans have determined is his grace but which does not agree with the Scriptures. It is a man-created grace which forgives the sin and which promises heaven but which does not put sin to death in the life of the “believer.”

So, if it does not put our sin to death and if it does not raise us with Christ to walk in newness of life in him according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh then it isn’t God’s true grace. And so the “believer” is believing in a false grace while he thinks or while he has convinced himself that it is God’s true grace. Or else he did accept the idea of God’s true grace on a surface level but he did not follow it through with true faith.

So I hear a lot of talk these days about God’s grace and a lot of it is false grace or it is a half-truth grace which is false because they only want to accept the benefits of God’s grace without the putting of sin to death in their lives and without then surrendering their lives to Jesus to walk in obedience to his ways. So what they believed of God’s grace had no effect in their lives because they did not let God’s grace do its work in changing them.

Therefore, this is a call to believe in Jesus Christ for genuine salvation from sin which involves us dying with Christ to sin and living to him and to his righteousness, but not just once but daily, and then to continue in putting the deeds of the flesh to death and in walking according to the Spirit in walks of obedience to our Lord until the day he comes to take us home (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Col 1:21-23).

He Gives Purpose

An Original Work / June 9, 2012

“Listen to Me when I’m calling to you.
Obey freely My word.
Follow Me in all of My ways.
Do all that I say.
Hear Me gently whisper to you
My will for your life and future.
Give all of your life and heart to
Follow Me always.”

Repent of your sins and worship Jesus.
He’s your Lord and Master.
He died for your sins so you could
Live with Him today.
He has a plan for your life and
He gives purpose and direction.
He gives meaning to your life,
So follow Him today.

“I love you so much I gave My life for
You to walk in My ways,
Living for Me each day as you
Bow to Me and pray.
Witness for Me of your love for Me and
Of My grace and mercy,
How I died to save you of your
Sins now and always.”

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