working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. [2 corinthians 6:1]
let’s be honest, one of the greatest joys of getting married is getting to scare your spouse when they aren’t expecting it. personally, i think it’s hilarious to sneak up behind my wife unannounced, reach out and grab her and give a little shout. for some reason, she doesn’t find it quite as funny.
now, i know she doesn’t really like being scared, which is why, most of the time, i try not to scare her. for example, when she’s downstairs doing laundry, i go out of my way to be as loud as i can while i’m walking down the steps and into the laundry room so that she hears me and isn’t startled when i walk in. but, every time, without fail, she doesn’t hear me and she’s still scared. all of my stomping and calling and noise making is all in vain. sometimes she even gets scared by me trying to say, “it’s just me, don’t be scared!” what am i supposed to do? everything i try is without success or effect. the end result is the same as it would be if i didn’t do all of those things.
the appeal here in this passage is to not receive the grace of God in vain. obviously. what would it look like to receive God’s grace in vain? in summary, it would mean God’s grace is given to you without result. you and your life are left unchanged with no implications on it from God’s grace. to receive God’s grace “not in vain,” would then mean that you and your life are impacted, changed, and effected by God’s grace.
the riches of God, given to us in Christ Jesus, are undeserved and life-changing. the plea here is to genuinely receive them in a way that effects who you are and what your life looks like. in Christ, we have acceptance, love, and life. to be impacted by the grace of God, we must know what his grace looks like. i encourage you today to sit in the presence of God and reflect on the grace he has given you. below are a few passages that show some of the aspects of God’s grace in our lives through Christ. use these to guide your reflection and praise. and let the grace of God be given to you, not in vain, but in fruitfulness.
let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. [hebrews 4:16]
in him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. [ephesians 1:13–14]
and God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. [2 corinthians 9:8]
for the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. [titus 2:11–14]
~ keith kozlowski