This chapter, though addressed to the saints at Corinth, has many lessons for every sincere minister of the gospel.
The most glorious promises are held out to us as a church and individuals, which should prompt our rapt attention.
There is more personal reference to Paul and his fellow ministers in this epistle and chapter than anywhere else, because Paul had detractors and enemies in Corinth, and because he is making such a personal appeal for their obedience.
Outline of Chapter 6
1-2 Paul’s exhortation to live the gospel
3-10 Paul’s ministerial character
11-13 Paul’s appeal for their affection
14-18 God’s call for separation
6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
Having presented gospel ministers as ambassadors for Christ that beseech men to be reconciled to God (5:20), Paul presented himself and his ministerial fellows in beseeching them to another matter.
It is important for God’s people to receive ministers as God’s ambassadors (I Thess 2:13; 5:12-13).
As ambassadors, they beseeched the Corinthians to “also” receive not the grace of God in vain.
The “also” cannot modify “you,” because there is no other group of persons under consideration.
Beseeching them not to receive the grace of God in vain was in addition to beseeching them to be reconciled to God in their own minds, based on God’s reconciliation in Jesus Christ (5:18-21).
It is one thing to lay hold of eternal reconciliation by faith in Jesus Christ and His righteousness, but it is another thing to live a life of obedience to the gospel and sacrificial service to Christ.
It is one thing to believe God’s gift of salvation, but another to bear the fruit of it (Jas 2:14-26).
Paul exhorted the Romans to faith in Jesus Christ’s finished work for 11 chapters of various aspects of salvation, but then he beseeched them to a life of holiness because of it (Rom 12:1-2).
Having carefully described his own zealous service to Christ (5:9-16) and described the nature of true conversion (5:17), Paul also besought the Corinthians to follow his sold out life of service.
Paul described Christ’s work of redemption (5:14-15), and then he appealed to a changed life (5:17); he described our reconciliation (5:18-21), and then he appealed to a changed life (6:1).
What is receiving the grace of God in vain? It is wasting the practical salvation of the gospel.
It is impossible to receive God’s electing, justifying, regenerating, or glorifying grace in vain (Rom 8:29-39); in the sense of these four phases of salvation, grace is definitely irresistible.
The grace of God in this case must be the gospel of grace, sometimes simply called grace by metonymy (Galatians 1:6; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 12:15; 13:9).
Receiving the gospel in vain is not living up to the rules of it and thus losing the benefits of it.
Receiving the gospel in vain is hearing of what Christ did for you without living for Him (5:15).
Receiving the gospel in vain is hearing salvation from your sins but not bearing fruit (II Pet 1:9).
Paul warned Timothy of losing himself and hearers by not continuing in the gospel (I Tim 4:16).
Any living short of a new creature with total transformation wastes God’s grace (II Cor 5:9-17).
To hear the gospel and not obey it is a horrible thing, of which many are guilty (James 1:21-27).
The danger is hearing the gospel, hardening your heart, and losing the reward (Heb 3:7 – 4:11).
6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
The quotation is from Isaiah 49:8, “Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages….”
Paul applied these words to describe the time and day of the gospel of grace by his double use of “behold” to get your attention, which introduce his own words and application (Heb 3:7-19; 4:1-11).
The “day” of salvation is to be understood as the period of time of the New Testament gospel.
First, compare the two clauses in Isaiah and Paul’s words, which show “day” means “time.”
Consider Isaiah 61:2 and its reference to the year of the Lord and the day of His vengeance.
For frothing Arminians, is the day of salvation yesterday, today, or tomorrow? Which day is it?
Jesus spoke of Jews missing their day. Which day was it? Or was it His visits (Luke 19:42-44)?
The time under consideration is the same as the “Today” of Psalm 95:7-11 (Heb 3:7-19; 4:1-11).
The era of the gospel of the kingdom, announced by John and Jesus, was and is very special (Is 40:1-11; 61:1-3; Luke 4:16-21; 19:41-44; Gal 4:4-6; II Tim 1:9-10; Titus 2:11-14; Heb 3:7-19; 4:1-11).
6:3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
Paul confirmed his and Timothy’s ministerial role as ambassadors for Christ by appealing to their character and reputation among the Corinthians and in all other churches.
There was no fault in the ministers Corinth had heard to justify their neglecting the grace of God.
As Paul exhorted them to receive and live up to the claims of the gospel, he removed excuses.
It is one thing to claim to be a worker with God, but it is another thing to prove it by your life.
Paul had two motives here – (1) defense of his person and ministry, which is throughout this epistle, and (2) an appeal to receive the grace of God and bear fruit with it, as he had just introduced (6:1).
Paul was an ambassador for Christ, and he proved it by a holy lifestyle of zeal in using God’s grace, which proved God had sent him (6:4; I Cor 15:10; I Thess 2:1-12).
Paul had called them to sanctification (5:17), which is enhanced by his living of it (6:1-10).
When a minister fails personally or doctrinally, it damages the appeal of the gospel (I Timothy 4:16).
Saving himself and hearers by taking heed to his personal life is a ministerial duty (I Tim 4:16).
How many excuse their carnality or neglect of the gospel by the hypocrisy they see in ministers?
David’s sin gave occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme His religion (II Sam 12:14).
It is personal or doctrinal error that leads others astray from the truth (II Tim 2:18; II Pet 2:1-22).
It is impossible for a minister to lead the saints to righteousness while living a carnal life in sin.
Paul was no more perfect than David or Peter, but he did not continue in any course of wickedness, by which the gospel of Jesus Christ could have been condemned by his refusal to repent and reform.
Paul’s statement for himself and other ministers cannot approach sinless perfection (I Jn 1:8,10); it is to be understood that Paul offended God and men, but he repented and continued in holiness.
Paul admitted to the churches that he had serious sins of concupiscence and lust (Rom 7:7-12).
Peter was an apostle, certainly comparable to Paul, and he had two serious sins for which he was blamed, but he repented and continued on as Christ’s servant (Luke 22:31-34; Gal 2:11-21).
John Mark was an AWOL minister, but he repented and became useful to Paul (II Tim 4:11).
Ministerial candidates – both bishops and deacons – are to be blameless, but this only means no present course in sin during their qualifying time of proving (I Timothy 3:1-10; Titus 1:5-7).
Church members are to be blameless as well as ministers (Luke 1:6; Phil 2:15; II Peter 3:14).
The truth does not require a perfect preacher; but the truth requires a preacher willing to repent for the certain offences than any and every minister will have in his personal and public lives.
6:4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
The issue at stake, no offence and blameless (6:3), is not sinless perfection or anything close to it, but rather the character and reputation of a minister of God in circumstances he then enumerated.
Paul’s first goal was to take away any excuse for their receiving the grace of God in vain (6:1).
His secondary goal was to position himself contrary and superior to the false teachers in Corinth.
God’s ministers must have an overall life of godliness in order to commend the gospel to hearers.
No minister is perfect in public or private, for which he needs quick repentance and conversion.
Patience is not waiting for sinners to convert, but enduring hardship cheerfully, which many ministers will not endure without seeking a raise, taking a vacation, or taking a new church.
Let every man desiring the office of a bishop recognize that patience is the first mark Paul listed.
The patience here is enduring and persevering under trials and tribulations (Luke 21:19).
Job illustrated patience, putting up with sore trials until the Lord Himself is merciful (Jas 5:11).
Many call the ministry a “nonprofit profession,” because most ministers hardly work at all.
Paul was afflicted, just like his Lord and Master, which proved him to be a minister of Jesus Christ, for he endured the afflictions without being destroyed or despairing (II Cor 4:8-10).
Paul was in regular necessities and distresses, which are not things that men choose for a career!
Necessities are needs or shortages of time, energy, money, clothes, or other things he needed.
Distresses are situations that put him under extraordinary pressure and stress from difficulties.
6:5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
The point being pursued here is Paul’s approval before God as His minister in these circumstances.
Paul was a suffering servant of God by stripes, imprisonments, and tumults, among other forms of persecution (Acts 16:19-24; 19:23-41; 21:27-40; 22:22-24; 23:1-10; II Cor 11:23-33). Glory!
Paul was a holy servant of God by labours, watchings, and fastings, as commanded (Matt 24:42-51), though those going before Him had been unable to watch and pray for even an hour (Matt 26:40).
6:6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
The point being pursued is Paul’s approval as a minister of God by specific ministerial virtues.
Paul approved himself by pureness, living an overall holy life, both privately and publicly, which is one of the supreme proofs of a God-called minister (I Thess 2:10; I Tim 4:12; 5:1-2; Titus 2:7).
Paul approved himself by knowledge, including wisdom, of the word of God, which showed God to be with him (Acts 9:22; 26:24; II Cor 4:6; 11:6; Eph 3:1-7).
Paul approved himself by longsuffering, showing the presence and power of the Holy Spirit (I Cor 4:12; 13:4; Gal 5:22; II Tim 2:24-26; 3:10; 4:1-2).
Paul approved himself by kindness, which was not necessarily true of the false apostles and teachers at Corinth, who showed Paul no kindness (Acts 20:35; I Cor 4:12; I Thess 2:7).
Paul approved himself by the power of the Holy Ghost, visible by gifts of the Spirit and fruits of the Spirit (Acts 19:11-12; Rom 15:17-21; II Cor 3:3; Gal 3:5; 5:22-23; Heb 2:4).
Paul approved himself by sincere charity, or unfeigned love, of all men (John 13:35; II Cor 12:15; I Tim 1:5; 4:12; II Tim 2:22; 3:10; I Pet 5:14).
6:7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
The point being pursued is Paul’s approval as a minister of God by specific ministerial virtues.
Paul approved himself by the word of truth, preaching the Scriptures and changing lives, without the corruptions of human embellishments, deception, or pagan philosophy (Acts 17:11-12; I Cor 2:1-5; II Cor 1:18-20; 2:17; 4:2; Eph 1:13; Col 1:5; I Thess 2:13; II Tim 2:15; 3:15-17; 4:2; Titus 2:7).
Paul approved himself by the power of God, both in miracles and conversion of stubborn sinners to His will (Rom 15:17-19; I Cor 2:4-5; II Cor 10:4-6; Eph 3:14-21; I Thess 1:5; Heb 2:1-4).
Paul approved himself by a righteous life, though this does not mean sinless perfection (Pr 10:9; Rom 13:12-13; 14:17; II Cor 11:15; Eph 6:14; I Tim 6:11; II Tim 2:22; 4:7).
6:8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
The point being pursued is Paul’s approval as a minister of God in conflicting temptations (6:3-4).
Having used three verses to describe their holy and righteous character (6:4-7), Paul now used three verses to describe conditions in which they conducted themselves holily and righteously (6:8-10).
Paul approved himself by handling both honour and dishonour; Paul and his fellows did not alter their pure character in Christ, though flattery, honor, and influence inflate the pride of many, and dishonor and disrespect provoke the anger and revenge of others (Acts 5:13; 14:11-18; 28:4-10; I Cor 4:10-13; Gal 4:12-16).
Paul approved himself by dealing with both evil and good report; he lived above and through the slanderous reports of enemies and slighted any good reports about himself (Matt 5:10-12; Acts 24:5; 28:22; Rom 3:8; Phil 3:10; Heb 13:13; I Pet 2:23; 4:13-14).
Paul approved himself even when accused of being a deceiver, though he was the greatest preacher of the truth to Gentiles of the New Testament (Matt 22:16; 27:63; John 7:12,17; Acts 26:24).
6:9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
The point being pursued is Paul’s approval as a minister of God in conflicting temptations (6:3-4).
Paul approved himself by handling the opposite situations of being unknown and being well known.
Some treated him poorly as an unknown stranger, and others treated him as a well-known friend.
Most had no idea that such a great apostle was before them, while knew the facts exceeding well.
Whether in a city with strangers, where he could have compromised, he was a minister of Christ.
And by those who lived with him daily, seeing his personal habits, he was a minister of Christ.
Paul was a true evangelist by preaching the gospel to those who had not heard it (Rom 15:17-21).
Paul approved himself while being pursued for death. Though facing imminent death, they still approved themselves; and God delivered them from death (Acts 14:19; Rom 8:36; I Cor 15:31; II Cor 1:9; 4:10-11; 11:23; Phil 2:17; II Tim 4:6; Rev 2:10).
Paul approved himself though God chastened them with sore afflictions and suffering, they endured them patiently and wisely and were not killed (Ps 118:17-18; I Cor 11:32; Heb 12:5-13; Rev 3:19).
6:10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
The point being pursued is Paul’s approval as a minister of God in conflicting temptations (6:3-4).
Paul approved himself in circumstances worthy of much sorrow, and perceived by the world to have nothing worthy of joy, the apostles still rejoiced, as in the Philippian jail; on the deck of a sinking ship; and on the road to appear before Caesar (Acts 16:25; 27:21-25,33-36; 28:15).
They were able to rejoice at all times due to their clean consciences before God (II Cor 1:12).
As men who have their full trust in God, they could rejoice in any circumstances (Hab 3:17-19).
He could be cast down, but he was not destroyed by those circumstances (II Cor 4:8-10).
Paul approved himself in real poverty and perceived as being poor; he did not seek anything materially; yet they made others rich by their sacrificial lifestyle to preach to them the gospel and perfect them in Christ Jesus. They were willing to work with their hands to support themselves when among selfish believers (Acts 20:35; Rom 8:28-32; I Cor 2:9-10; 4:12; II Cor 11:8; Eph 1:10-11,22-23; Phil 3:8; 4:11-15; I Tim 6:17).
Though they appeared to have nothing in this world, their spirits and faith were of having all things; Paul had learned by true faith to be full or to be hungry by godly contentment (Phil 3:8-14; 4:11-13).
6:11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.
Paul loved the Corinthian saints, and he appealed to his affection in this epistle of personal defense.
How was Paul’s mouth opened unto them? He was willing to express his affection for them all.
He had just described his ministry in terms of great sacrifice for the benefit of these believers.
The free flow of affectionate language for another requires a sincere heart of affection as well.
In both this and the earlier epistle, he had poured out his heart through words for their salvation.
How was Paul’s heart enlarged? He had a heart full of affection and concern for their prosperity.
He will say later to these people, “Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (II Cor 12:14-15).
The source of this difficulty between Paul and the church were a few false teachers that disliked him.
6:12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.
Straitened means to be narrowed, tightened, restricted, confined, or limited, as in a strait jacket!
There was no restriction of affection by ministerial faults; the restriction was in their own bowels.
Paul had not done anything to justify their reservations about him; they simply lacked affection.
Bowels are an internal body part used to represent feelings, much like the heart (Gen 43:30; I Kings 3:26; Song 5:4; Isaiah 63:15; Jer 4:19; 31:20; Lam 1:20; 2:11; Philippians 1:8; I John 3:17).
Though Paul willingly gave himself for them, they showed little love in return (II Cor 12:14-15).
Consider that this church did not support the apostle at all, though he spent 18 months with them!
6:13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.
Paul appealed to a sense of fairness to show a similar degree and kind of affection to him in return.
As a father with children, Paul appealed to his children in Christ to consider his paternal love for them and to respond with an appropriate degree of filial love for him (I Cor 4:15).
Here is a true minister and servant of Jesus Christ, greatly affectioned for his charges in Jesus Christ.
The enlargement Paul is requesting is an increase in their affection and respect for him (II Cor 6:11).
Though difficult to preach about, God has commanded love for His true ministers (I Thess 5:12-13).
6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
The gospel of the grace of God is surely received in vain, when it is compromised with error (6:1).
Here begins a glorious section of Scripture concluding with the first verse of the next chapter (7:1).
There are seven contrasts or commands of not being unequally yoked with unbelievers (6:14-17).
There are seven glorious promises of God’s response to those who unyoke from them (6:16-18).
A yoke is a wooden frame in which two oxen were coupled together to pull a plow or other tool.
A yoke is not going to work, if the two animals coupled together are not comparable and similar.
A yoke binds and holds the two animals together, which we are to avoid with unbelievers.
Paul’s words are a command. They are not a suggestion, recommendation, or merely a good idea.
The imperative command is eight words long; then there are seven contrasts and seven promises.
The yoke is unequal with unbelievers, for a believer has nothing in common with an unbeliever.
The charge is both ecclesiastical, to the church, and personal, to the members, to reject pagans.
A yoke brings pressure to bear on you to compromise, for you must move when they move.
Unbelievers are either outright pagans or professing Christians holding false doctrine or heresies.
Paul used five rhetorical questions to powerfully and definitively condemn associations with evil.
Rhetorical questions are argumentative devices where everyone knows the obvious answers.
First, Paul identified the evil we are to avoid and separate from by five descriptive terms: unrighteousness, darkness, Belial, infidelity, and idolatry. The Bible can further define these.
Second, Paul identified the kind of associations that we are to reject by five descriptive terms: fellowship, communion, concord, participation, and agreement. The Bible can expand these.
The New Testament is full of commands to separate from false professors of the Christian religion, measured by disobedience to even one command (Rom 16:17-18; I Cor 5:1-13; Phil 3:18-19; II Thess 3:6,14-15; I Tim 6:3-5; II Tim 3:1-5; Titus 3:10-11).
Righteousness cannot fellowship with unrighteousness – they are contradictory and at perpetual war.
The issue here is fellowship, considered as fellows together in a common enterprise, as sailors.
What kind of fellowship would it be, if we ate and sang Christmas carols with Presbyterians? Those baby sprinklers are Bible corrupters (covenant salvation) and sacramentalists (Catholics).
How would a church rejecting musical instruments have fellowship with one using them?
Or should we limit this text only to those still engaged in child sacrifice to Molech? I trow not!
We must reject fellowship with the works of darkness and reprove them (Ephesians 5:11-12).
Light cannot commune with darkness – they are contradictory, mutually exclusive, and enemies.
Light is the character of the righteous – knowledge and holiness – which the wicked have not.
Darkness is the character of the wicked – ignorance and sin – which the righteous must hate.
There is no communion – common union – either at the Lord’s Table or anywhere else. None!
What kind of communion is it to have wafers and grape juice at a Promise Keepers conference?
Or should we limit this text only to the drinking of goat blood with South Sea island cannibals?
6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
The followers of Jesus Christ cannot have peace, harmony, and accord with followers of the devil.
Belial. The spirit of evil personified; used from early times as a name for the Devil.
The people or things of Jesus Christ cannot have any concord with the people or things of Satan.
Therefore, we reject pagan holy days, horoscopes, ouija boards, witchcraft, Masons, etc., etc.
Or should we limit this text to those who perform human sacrifice in marriage to Satan?
Those who believe the truth of God and Christ cannot participate with those who do not believe it.
Infidel. One who does not believe in the true religion. This definition is obvious by its usage.
The key is having part, or participating. Believers cannot participate with unbelievers honestly.
There is no room for community projects of religious kind between believers and unbelievers.
Why don’t we join the National Day of Prayer? Because we don’t pray with Mormons or Jews!
We reject all ecumenical movements and events, for they are trying to combine unequal oxen!
Or should we just apply the word “infidel” to Shiite Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists? I trow not!
Seeker sensitive churches, seducing unbelievers in to swell their numbers, are manifestly wrong.
6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
The saints of God do not have agreement with idolatry; therefore there should be total separation.
Can you recognize all aspects and forms of idolatry? Or are you limited to statues of Buddha?
Do you have graven images, drawing or paintings, of any representation of God or Jesus Christ?
Is a Christmas tree a neutral item for home decor, or part of idolatry (Deut 12:1-4; Jer 10:1-4)?
Is a rabbit carrying eggs at the Spring Equinox merely child’s play, or is it idolatry of fertility?
What about churches gathering on hill tops to sing songs to the rising sun (Ezekiel 8:15-16)?
Why in the world are you carrying a cross on a chain around your neck? You are an idolater.
Why in the world do churches have steeples, or are they the phallic symbols they seem to be?
So obsessive is the human heart that the Holy Spirit classifies covetousness as idolatry (Col 3:5).
The quotation about being the temple of the living God is taken from Leviticus 26:11-12.
The saints of God are the temple of God in two respects – corporately and physically.
A church is the temple of God by His Spirit (I Cor 3:16-17; Eph 2:20-22; I Tim 3:15; I Pet 2:5).
Your physical body is the temple of God by His Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:12-20).
Jesus had promised that He and His Father would come and dwell with His disciples (John 14:23).
What was Israel, without God dwelling with them and walking in them? Hopeless and fruitless!
Moses did not want to go anywhere with Israel, if the LORD did not go also (Ex 33:14-16).
Jehovah being their God was His personal and practical relationship with them above all other nations (Ex 6:7; 19:5-6; Deut 7:6; 10:15; 26:18; Isaiah 63:19; Ezekiel 16:1-14; Amos 3:2).
He was their Father in the eternal, legal, vital, and final phases of salvation, but not the practical.
Here is no offer of eternal life, but rather an offer of affectionate dealings in a practical way.
6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
Most of the words in this verse are taken from Isaiah 52:11, where God expostulated with Israel.
The verse begins by drawing an intermediate conclusion from the commands and promises so far.
There are two additional commandments here of separating from false religion and its traditions.
God’s children are to come out from among false religionists and be separate from them – this is a command to end your affiliation, association, or cooperation with the people of false religion.
God’s children are not to even touch the unclean thing, which would be the customs and traditions of false religion, even when they think they can do it to the Lord (Deut 12:29-32).
Faithful saints understand the necessity of rejecting both the persons and things of false religion.
God has no use for pagan articles, customs, or traditions in His worship, no matter how sincere.
It is too hard for many to give up association with friends, neighbors, peers, or colleagues to follow Christ (Is 51:7-8; 66:5; Matt 5:10-12; 10:34-39; Luke 14:25-33; John 12:42-43; I Pet 1-5,12-16).
Jesus suffered outside the camp for our sins, will you go out to suffer with Him (Heb 13:11-13).
Let men even think they are serving God by persecuting us: He will come for us (Isaiah 66:5).
Jesus called for those within the Great Whore and her daughters to come out of her (Rev 18:4).
It is too hard for many to give up the customs and traditions they have come to love (Jer 10:1-4).
Most people are severe creatures of habit, which means they do not even know why they do what they do. Their parents did it when they were children, and they perpetuate the stupid acts forever.
Since Halloween is a fun time for children, how about if they dress as Little Red Riding Hood?
Since a glowing Christmas tree at the winter solstice is so cozy, we will do it for Jesus’ birthday.
Since we are Baptists, let us bring our baby to the front and have a dedication service for it.
God did not even allow the mention of the names of false gods by His people (Exodus 23:13).
How does God receive saints? He accepts their persons for His favor and blessings; He hears and answers their petitions brought in prayer; and He will receive them in the last day (Matt 7:21).
Receiving saints is being mercifully kind to them, as opposed to abhorring them (Lev 26:11).
He favorably treats them by loving favor (II Chronicles 16:9; Proverbs 10:29; I Peter 3:12).
6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
What more do you need than a promise such as this to leave the world and follow Christ? Glory!
We rightly divide the word of truth to avoid making adoption or regeneration to be conditional.
This verse and the ones preceding it have nothing to do with adoption or regeneration at all.
God offered to bless and reward His children, if they will separate from sin and false religion.
In a similar way, He said that loving your enemies would make you His children (Matt 5:43-48).
The promise is God will consider and treat us as His dearly beloved children by our obedience.
Obedience in separation from false religion brings favor and blessings on a church or saints.
Disobedience can bring His jealous and righteous fury against His own people (Lev 26:28).
God will not be a practical Father to those believers who hold on to people or things of false religion.
These words may be taken from Jeremiah 31:1,9; or Paul may have written them by inspiration.
We cannot conclude this chapter without fully appreciating the opening verse of the next chapter (II Cor 7:1).
Consider how Paul explained redemption (5:14-15), and then appealed to a changed life (5:17); explained reconciliation (5:18-21), and then appealed to a changed life (6:1); and explained a separated life with God’s promises of reward (6:14-18), and then appealed to a changed life (7:1).
II Corinthians 7:1 is one of the fullest, most potent verses for Christian living in the New Testament.
How can we receive the grace of God in vain? Will we not be worthy of God’s most severe chastening?
With the seven promises at the end of the chapter, why do we have any temptation to compromise holiness?
For Further Study:
Sermon Outline: Biblical Separation, details God’s commandments about separating from sin and sinners.