2 Corinthians 6:1-2
About the grace of God, the apostle Paul in his second epistle to the Corinthian Church wrote, “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 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 6:1,2). To receive the grace of God in vain means that it didn’t have any useful purpose in the life of a person (Isaiah 55:10, 11). The important thing is the way man receives grace, and continues to receive it (Matthew 13:23; Acts 2:41).
The Grace of God Is Received in Vain:
- When it is abandoned. Continued neglect may deafen the ear to God’s voice. A travel guide is of no value to a person who walks in without knowing it or keeping its instructions. “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
- When it is twisted by using it as a cover for sin (Romans 6:1, 15). The unscriptural belief that the grace of God cancels His law (Romans 3:31) is promoted by some as an excuse for doing what they want and not obeying God. “Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?“(Hebrews 10:29).
- When it is corrupted with human ideas and traditions. Men receive the grace of God in vain when they try to earn credit before God by legalism. “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:14, 15 also Galatians 2:21; 5:4; Ephesians 2:8, 9).
- When it is received only mentally and is not practiced in the life; when it does not clean the soul and lead to a complete heart obedience to God’s commands. Understanding without application is like studying nutrition but neglecting to eat. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven…Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:20–24).
Sanctification Must Follow Justification
The Scriptures teach that if there is no growth beyond the initial step of justification, then the grace of God has been received in vain. It has served no good purpose. The instant Justification of a person before God by forgiving his past sins should not be an end in itself. The grace of God justifies the repentant sinner, but only so that he can receive daily grace to aid him in victory over sin. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
Thus, Justification by the grace of God is only the starting point in the Christian life (2 Peter 3:18; Colossians 1:9,10; 2:6,7). Then Sanctification, which is a life long process of growth, must follow. “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God” (Hebrews 6:1 also 2 Peter 1:5-8).
In His service,