Sunday, 23 August 2015
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 6:2
In verse 1, Paul said that they (meaning the apostles) as “workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” Now to show the importance of calling on Christ at the present moment, whatever that moment may be, he goes to Isaiah 49:8 to demonstrate that even the Old Testament showed there would be an acceptable time for both Jew and Gentile to reach out and be saved.
His quote is from the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint), but even the Hebrew version carries the idea that he is conveying –
“Thus says the Lord:
‘In an acceptable time I have heard You,
And in the day of salvation I have helped You;'” Isaiah 49:8
“For He says” then is speaking of the Lord, who is God. As Jesus is one and the same with the Lord of the Old Testament, it is again a note concerning the deity of Christ (as was explained in verse 1). It is He who says, “In an acceptable time I have heard you.” There was to be found a time of special grace upon the world. That time came at the advent of Jesus Christ. He, born without original sin, lived under the law perfectly, and gave His life up in exchange for the sin of the world.
His resurrection proved that this was so. Fifty days later, the Holy Spirit was poured out on all who believed. This is that acceptable time. It is a period of grace where man’s sins are not counted against them. As Paul continues, he writes, “And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”
Where we cannot help ourselves, Christ stepped in to help us. We already bear Adam’s sin and thus stand condemned before God. We cannot traverse time and undo what Adam has done and so we stand helpless to do anything about our miserable plight. But at the coming of Christ, and in the completion of His work, He has helped us. There is now a way of being reconciled to God. But there is something important attached to this that Paul informs us. He says, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
The urgency of his words shows us at least two things –
1) There must be an obligation upon us. If not, then there would be no need to worry about God or the apostles pleading for us to act.
2) There is a point when this “accepted time” will end.
Christ’s offer is exactly that, an offer. It can be accepted and it can be refused. Further, it is not forced upon anyone. No person is “regenerated in order to believe.” Rather they are given an offer of peace and they must accept it. “The day of salvation” then is any day that we have. As we only have “today” (as Hebrews chapters 1-4 so minutely explains), then we need to understand that Today is in fact the day of salvation.
There is a day when we will die, or at least become incapable of choosing Jesus. At that point, Today is over and our fate is sealed. Paul’s words in this verse are a sobering reminder to all that our days are numbered, but that this set number is unknown to us. The first chapter of Proverbs shares the same thought with us –
“Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
25 Because you disdained all my counsel,
And would have none of my rebuke,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,
27 When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.” Proverbs 1:24-28
Life application: If you have heard His voice, don’t rebel against it. Receive Jesus Christ and be reconciled to God. Truly there is no Tomorrow that we can count on. Call on Jesus Today.
Heavenly Father, I remember seeing what happened on Sept 11, 2001. I remember seeing people make a choice, “Will I stay where I am and burn to death, or will I jump…” Watching those people jump to their deaths reminds me that we don’t know our last day. Not one of them thought, “I will go to work and die today.” Surely You called to each one of them. Some may have chosen Christ; some may have refused Him – only You know. None of us know our end and so I would pray for any who have never called on Jesus. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day of Your favor. Turn their hearts to you Today. Amen.