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2 Corinthians 6:1

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

We then, as workers together with him - On the meaning of this expression, see the note, 1 Corinthians 3:9. The Greek here is ( συνεργοῦντες sunergountes) “working together,” and may mean either that the apostles and ministers to whom Paul refers were joint-laborers in entreating them not to receive the grace of God in vain; or it may mean that they cooperated with God, or were engaged with him in endeavoring to secure the reconciliation of the world to himself. Tyndale renders it: “we as helpers.” Doddridge, “we then as the joint-laborers of God.” Most expositors have concurred in this interpretation. The word properly means, to work together; to cooperate in producing any result. Macknight supposes that the word here is in the vocative, and is an address to the fellow-laborers of Paul, entreating them not to receive the grace of God in vain. In this opinion he is probably alone, and has manifestly departed from the scope and design of the passage. Probably the most obvious meaning is that of our translators, who regard it as teaching that Paul was a joint-worker with God in securing the salvation of people.

That ye receive not the grace of God in vain - The “grace of God” here means evidently the gracious offer of reconciliation and pardon. And the sense is, “We entreat you not to neglect or slight this offer of pardon, so as to lose the benefit of it, and be lost. It is offered freely and fully. It may be partaken of by all, and all may be saved. But it may also be slighted, and all the benefits of it will then be lost.” The sense is, that it was possible that this offer might be made to them, they might hear of a Saviour, be told of the plan of reconciliation and have the offers of mercy pressed on their attention and acceptance, and yet all be in vain. They might notwithstanding all this be lost, for simply to hear of the plan of salvation or the offers of mercy, will no more save a sinner than to hear of medicine will save the sick. It must be embraced and applied, or it will be in vain. It is true that Paul probably addressed this to those who were professors of religion; and the sense is, that they should use all possible care and anxiety lest these offers should have been made in vain. They should examine their own hearts; they should inquire into their own condition; they should guard against self-deception. The same persons 2 Corinthians 5:20 Paul had exhorted also to be reconciled to God; and the idea is, that he would earnestly entreat even professors of religion to give all diligence to secure an interest in the saving mercy of the gospel, and to guard against the possibility of being self-deceived and ruined.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The gospel is a word of grace sounding in our ears. The gospel day is a day of salvation, the means of grace the means of salvation, the offers of the gospel the offers of salvation, and the present time the proper time to accept these offers. The morrow is none of ours: we know not what will be on the morrow, nor where we shall be. We now enjoy a day of grace; then let all be careful not to neglect it. Ministers of the gospel should look upon themselves as God's servants, and act in every thing suitably to that character. The apostle did so, by much patience in afflictions, by acting from good principles, and by due temper and behaviour. Believers, in this world, need the grace of God, to arm them against temptations, so as to bear the good report of men without pride; and so as to bear their reproaches with patience. They have nothing in themselves, but possess all things in Christ. Of such differences is a Christian's life made up, and through such a variety of conditions and reports, is our way to heaven; and we should be careful in all things to approve ourselves to God. The gospel, when faithfully preached, and fully received, betters the condition even of the poorest. They save what before they riotously spent, and diligently employ their time to useful purposes. They save and gain by religion, and thus are made rich, both for the world to come and for this, when compared with their sinful, profligate state, before they received the gospel.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

We then, as workers together with him - Συνεργουντες δε και παρακαλουμεν . The two last words, with him, are not in the text, and some supply the place thus: we then, as workers together With You, and the Armenian version seems to have read it so; but no MS. has this reading, and no other version. For my own part I see nothing wanting in the text if we only suppose the term apostles; we, (i.e. apostles), being fellow workers, also entreat you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

By the grace of God, την χαριν του Θεου, this grace or benefit of God, the apostle certainly means the grand sacrificial offering of Christ for the sin of the world, which he had just before mentioned in speaking of the ministry of reconciliation. We learn, therefore, that it was possible to receive the grace of God and not ultimately benefit by it; or, in other words, to begin in the Spirit and end in the flesh. Should any one say that it is the ministry of reconciliation, that is, the benefit of apostolic preaching, that they might receive in vain; I answer, that the apostolic preaching, and the whole ministry of reconciliation, could be no benefit to any man farther than it might have been a means of conveying to him the salvation of God. And it is most evident that the apostle has in view that grace or benefit that reconciles us to God, and makes us Divinely righteous. And this, and all other benefits of the death of Christ, may be received in vain.

Ellen G. White
A New Life (Revival and Beyond), 34.3

In one way we are thrown upon our own energies; we are to strive earnestly to be zealous and to repent, to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts from every defilement; we are to reach the highest standard, believing that God will help us in our efforts. We must seek if we would find, and seek in faith; we must knock, that the door may be opened unto us. The Bible teaches that everything regarding our salvation depends upon our own course of action. If we perish, the responsibility will rest wholly upon ourselves. If provision has been made, and if we accept God's terms, we may lay hold on eternal life. We must come to Christ in faith, we must be diligent to make our calling and election sure. NL 35.3

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 302.5

Fathers and mothers, you take the responsibility of bringing children into the world. Will you consider it is not for you to work in vain? “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” ... Now this takes in Christian experience. Here is large encouragement. Here are the graces we are to receive, if we comply with the conditions. Fathers, mothers, if you are not converted, will you measure your advantages if you will comply with the conditions? ... Your children are the Lord's property with which you have been entrusted, to bring up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.—Manuscript 61, October 15, 1911, “Individual Responsibility of Fathers and Mothers.” UL 302.5

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 168.3

We hear much of the higher education as the world regards the subject. But those who are ignorant of the higher education as it was taught and exemplified in the life of Christ, are ignorant of what constitutes the higher education. Higher education means conformity to the terms of salvation. It embraces the experience of daily looking unto Jesus, and of working together with Christ for the saving of the perishing. TDG 168.3

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 122.3

It is for our present happiness and our future good that God subjects us to discipline. The greatest blessing that His children have is the discipline that He sends them. He never leads them otherwise than they would choose to be led if they could see the end from the beginning and discern the glory of the purpose that they are fulfilling, as workers together with Him. TDG 122.3

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