2 Corinthians 6:1-6
2 Cor 6:1 (KJB)
We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
Workers together - Work together with or cooperate
Beseech - Call for, call beside, or encourage
Vain - Worthless, ineffective, or empty
Paul was a steward and an ambassador but he also knew that he was a worker together with God. Paul reiterates this principle from his first letter. (1 Cor 3:9 KJV) For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. Every true Christian is a laborer together with God. We send forth the Gospel to the ends of the earth and it is God who is the one who applies the Gospel to the hearts of His Elect bringing about their salvation. Paul was writing to the Corinthians that he hoped they did not receive the grace of God in vain. He was concerned that that his detractors would have sway over the Corinthians and they would accept what the false accusers were saying. This would not cause a loss of salvation to any truly saved person but it could cause them to halt their Christian work and this would create a lifeless Christian element in Corinth. If that happened, then the unbelievers would gain back the ground that Paul had gained for the Gospel. This is why Paul was encouraging them to remain faithful and not to be sidetracked by his accusers, especially since they could not make their case with anything but words.
2 Cor 6:2 (KJB)
(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; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
Accepted - Acceptable or favorable
Succoured - Assisted or come to the help of
Now - The present
Is the accepted - Well-received, approved, or acceptable
(Isa 49:8 KJV) 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 uses a great verse from Isaiah detailing Godís care for the Corinthian Christians. God has heard them in an acceptable time because that acceptable time was their time of visitation. That time of visitation was the time when many of them became saved and God did not leave them alone as orphans, but he had assisted them after their salvation. This means God had watched and cared for them. He used the Apostle Paul to bring them discipline and further words of the Lord. The urgency of the Gospel was such that God stated now was the day of salvation. There is no such thing in Godís salvation plan as putting salvation off for the future. Man does not have that ability to do this. God may allow a person to hear the Gospel and not be saved till some future date but this is in the hands of the Lord and not man. When the Gospel is being preached, God expects those who are saved to pay attention and apply what is being preached. God used Paul to bring the message of comfort to the Corinthians. It was the false teachers who were trying to destabilize the Christians but God was stabilizing them by sending Paul with the true Gospel. God does this today as the true Christian brings the true Gospel from the Scriptures. It is the Scriptures that can comfort a person and discipline them at the same time. When we hear the Gospel, now is the time to act on it. If a person is the Elect of God and hears the Gospel, it is their time of visitation and they will become saved.
2 Cor 6:3 (KJB)
Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
Offence - Occasion or cause of offense
Blamed - Discredit, criticize, or find fault with
Here Paul is sternly charging the Corinthians that they need to watch their Christian walk so they will not bring an offence against anyone. This is not the kind of offence where the Gospel stings someone and they do not want to hear it. It is the type of offence which brings shame upon the ministry of God. We have seen so much of this in our day where ministers or churches or radio/TV ministries have done things to discredit the Gospel of God. This always results in the unbelievers mocking the true Gospel and it makes it bad for the rest of us and increases the hardship in bringing the Gospel. False religions and unbelievers wait for the moment they can pounce on us Christians and this is why we ourselves must watch the way we walk.
2 Cor 6:4 (KJB)
But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
Approving - Recommending or demonstrating
Patience - Endurance
Afflictions - Tribulations
Necessities - Necessary, compel, or force
Distresses - Anguish or affliction
Paulís motives and his message had validated his ministry but coinciding with these was his ways. In every way Paul had desired to demonstrate that he was a true Apostle of God and a true preacher. Paul gives four elements of his life which further validate his claims on being a true Apostle. He states that he has much patience and this he has proven repeatedly because at this time he was showing much patience with the Corinthian Christians. Then he states that he suffered much afflictions. He would not be afflicted if he was walking in the ways of the world. Those who bring the true Gospel are the ones normally afflicted by the world and the sad thing is that much of the persecution comes from the churches sourced in jealous clergy.
Paul also spoke of necessities and this means that it was necessary for him to suffer these things because it was a validation that he was not walking with the world. (John 15:25 KJV) But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. The world hated the Lord Jesus Christ and hates Him today as well. It was because of this hatred that the disciples would also suffer for Him. (John 15:18 KJV) If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. The world hated Christ and He warned us that the world would hate us. This hatred is a necessity which teaches us that we are bringing the truth. If the world does not hate you but embraces you, the truth is you might not be saved. (1 John 4:5 KJV) They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. Then Paul speaks about being in distresses. He had faced much anguish for the sake of the churches especially because of all the opposition that was rising up in them that was aimed at him.
2 Cor 6:5 (KJB)
In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
Tumults - Insurrection, riots, or disorder
Watchings - Sleepless nights
Here Paul continues on with some of the other validations of his ministry. He states that he received many stripes, that is, he received 39 lashes 5 times for a total of 195 lashes. Each subsequent flogging would have opened up the older wounds and caused much more excruciating pain than a first time flogging. History has recorded that many men had died under the lash but Paulís mission was not yet finished so God preserved him through those torturous times. He was then subject to imprisonments such as Philippi and Rome. He was also involved in many tumults such as the one at Ephesus found in Acts 19. Paul was also a tent maker where he made a living so he would not be a burden to the new churches. So add these labors on to the time he spent ministering in the churches, no wonder he had many sleepless nights. How many other times was he robbed of sleep because of all the turmoil in the churches and the turmoil surrounding him. He also knew what it was like to fast whether it was voluntary or whether there was no food available.
2 Cor 6:6 (KJB)
By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
Pureness - Purity or chastity
Unfeigned - Without hypocrisy or insincerity
Paul continues on in his validating his ministry to the Corinthians. This section would have definitely shown the difference between Paulís commitment to the Gospel and the false commitment of the false teachers. He states that his pureness is basically uncompromising because his sincerity has proven him to be a true Apostle of the Lord. This was proven not only by his words but his actions and responses to those actions which resulted in much suffering. Then he states that through knowledge his ministry has been confirmed because he was given tremendous revelations and insight into the Scriptures which could not have come through the unsaved eye and commentaries. Then he states that he was longsuffering, that is extreme patience, which he showed to many churches for the purpose of maturing them in the faith plus he was also patient with those who opposed him. Then Paul showed much kindness to people by showing a genial temperament even at times when he could have retaliated but chose not to for the sake of the Gospel. Remember, if he would have retaliated, this could have brought a dark blot upon the ministry, As Christians, we are to be wise as serpents but harmless as doves. (Mat 10:16 KJV) Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Then Paul attributes his biblical understanding to the Holy Ghost which is the proper thing to do because of ourselves we can never understand the Scriptures to the point that the Holy Ghost can teach us. Paul knew that his understanding of the Scriptures was divine and that no false teacher could ever come close to his understanding and that was because the Holy Ghost was his guide and teacher. (John 16:13 KJV) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. Then Paul states he possessed that all to scarce tenet of love without hypocrisy. This was proven repeatedly in Paulís life as he suffered so much for the churches. He never had a hidden agenda and was willing for God to continually search his life and for the Corinthian Christians to do the same. In contrast to the false teachers who had phony love because of their hidden agendas. (Mat 23:28 KJV) Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. The Lord rebuked the Pharisees for being hypocrites and full of iniquity which is exactly what the false teachers were filled with.