Jul 21, 2010

2 Corinthians 6:1 - William Styles

2 Cor. 6:1. We then [as] workers together [with Him]. Quoted to prove that the Spirit works or labours to convert sinners by striving within their hearts, while the gospel minister labours to impress them by earnestly warning and inviting them, and that thus the Spirit and the preacher are joint labourers in endeavouring to effect the salvation of men. That this is a fair inference from the text as it stands in ordinary Bibles, cannot be denied, but the translation is inaccurate. It reads literally, “But working together we exhort.”—Catesby Paget. By J.N. Darby it is rendered, “But (as) fellow workmen we also beseech you.” The words “with Him” are therefore, an unnecessary interpolation, as the meaning without them is obvious; suits the connection and harmonizes with the whole scope of the Gospel. St. Paul had to pen a warning to the opiniative and self-satisfied Corinthians, but to relieve his words from the offensiveness of a personal rebuke, he associates his colleague with himself as sending the message of entreaty, “As fellow labourers (see 1 Cor. 3:9), I and Sosthenes (see chap. 1:1), exhort you, etc.” The idea of God’s labouring in vain by the Spirit, to convert sinners, has no support from the passage.

2 Cor. 6:1. We beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. Quoted to prove that some grace is imparted to and received by all men, to whom also pardon is fully and freely offered. If, however, the grace be resisted, and the offer slighted, they irretrievably seal their doom and perish. This view, however, overlooks the fact that the persons addressed were regenerated, believing and baptized persons, who in their collective capacity composed the church at Corinth. The “grace” referred to is therefore not the manifestation of Divine favour to sinners in their lost condition, nor is the salvation of those addressed the object of the exhortation. They were thus appealed to that their outward conduct might be free from inconsistency—that they might “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they were called,” and thus manifest the fruits of grace in their lives. St. Paul’s meaning is therefore clear. The doctrines of grace conveyed to the mind by the medium of the gospel may be received in a flippant and prayerless spirit, which will lead to careless and unbecoming conduct, alike discreditable to the person himself, the ministry he attends, and the church to which he belongs. Such a one is a living stumbling block. The Corinthians were in danger of becoming such. Hence the propriety of the appeal.

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