Saturday, 22 August 2015
We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
2 Corinthians 6:1
Again, as in 2 Corinthians 5:20, this verse clearly demonstrates the incorrect theology of Calvinism which excludes free-will. One has to read right over such verses, ignoring their intent completely, in order to develop such an unsound systematic theology (which then isn’t very systematic).
Paul begins the chapter with, “We then…” He is speaking of himself and the other apostles, as he has even from the first chapter of this epistle. As apostles and “as workers together with Him” his petition will be made. The words “with Him” are inserted, but they are implied based on the use of the compounded Greek oun, meaning “with” which is found in the word synergountes. The word sunergeó means “to work together” or “cooperate.” Therefore, when compounded with oun, it means “to work together with.”
The question some scholars debate is whether “Him” then refers to “God” or to “Christ.” The reason for this debate is because “with” is certainly referring back to verse 20 of the previous chapter –
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
It is actually a bit silly to argue this, but for clarity we should analyze it. Paul said in this verse that the apostles are “ambassadors for Christ.” An ambassador speaks for the one who sent them. However, it is “God” who is said to plead through the apostles. Therefore, either option is a possibility if one wants to divide Paul’s thought into two different entities. But if we understand that Christ is God, then the debate is unnecessary. God is pleading through Christ, because Christ is God’s revelation of Himself. Further, Paul says the same thing concerning God in the book of 1 Corinthians –
“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:9
Understanding that we, as the church, are “living stones” in this temple (1 Peter 2:5) and that the church is Christ’s body (Ephesians 1:23), then we can see that these are ultimately one and the same. It then is the apostles, together with Him, who “also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” The grace of God he is writing about can be nothing other than the message of salvation, the gospel. It is the message of pardon leading to reconciliation with God which is found in the sacrificial giving of Christ for fallen man.
And so the question must be asked, “Why would God/Christ plead along with the apostles for us to “not receive the grace of God in vain” if free-will were excluded from the equation? One can see how dangerous this type of theology is. If someone is expected to make a volitional act of the will in coming to Christ, but they are told this isn’t necessary because God has elected them already apart from their free-will, then they could end up never making such a decision. Thus, they will be excluded from the very hope which God is pleading for them to possess.
Life application: If you have never simply received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, calling on Him as Lord, then do so today. The choice is an eternity-deciding decision and the choice is yours.
Heavenly Father, I am thankful that I live in a time when the word of God was spoken often enough to me that I finally realized I had to do something in order to be saved. I realized that the choice is mine and that I had to call on Jesus. I thank You first for the offer of pardon, and I thank You also that You gave me the sense through multiple callings to make the free-will decision to receive it. You certainly are a gracious and patient God! How I love You. Help me now to continue to speak to others about this wonderful offer of peace and reconciliation. Amen.