Don’t waste God’s kindness
- 6:1 We work with God, and we’re begging you, don’t trash the kindness1 God has shown you.
- 6:2 He said,
“When the time was right and you were ready, I heard you.
That’s when Salvation Day arrived, because I came to your rescue.”2
Look folks, this is the “right time.” You’re ready for it. Look, I’m telling you this is Salvation Day.
Paul’s bullet list of credentials
- 6:3 We’re not trying to cause trouble for anyone. Don’t blame our mission work for anything like that.
- 6:4 We’re ministers—God’s servants. We show it with endurance for the long haul, and in every situation you could imagine:
- 6:5 • beatings
• hard labor
• sleepless nights
- 6:6 We endure all this by:
• clean living
• the Holy Spirit
• sincere love
- 6:7 • word of truth
• power of God
• double-fisted weapons of goodness.
- 6:8 And we endure when:
• honored or shamed
• bad-mouthed or praised
• called liars or truthful
- 6:9 • unknown or famous
• dying or—look at this—still alive
• beaten, but not killed
- 6:10 • grieving, but always rejoicing
• poor, while making others rich
• owning nothing, yet having everything.
You don’t love us anymore
- 6:11 Dear folks of Corinth, we opened our hearts to you. We spoke freely, as friends.
- 6:12 We still love you. But you don’t love us.
- 6:13 Fair’s fair, so I’m going to talk to you like I’d talk to children. Open your hearts. Let us in.
Nonbelievers make dangerous partners
- 6:14 Don’t partner with nonbelievers. Why would those of you with spiritual integrity think you have anything in common with folks who don’t know a thing about it? 3
- 6:15 How could the Messiah and the devil4 ever get along? And what exactly do you think a believer has in common with an unbeliever?
- 6:16 Does God’s temple allow idols? We are the living temple of the living God. He said so himself:
“I’ll live with them and walk where they walk.
I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people.5
- 6:17 So leave those unbelievers. Stay away from them,” says the Lord. “Keep your hands off what you know is forbidden.6 Then I’ll welcome you as a father.
- 6:18 You’ll become my sons and daughters.”7 That comes from the Lord Almighty.
Paul concludes his quotathon with 2 Samuel 7:14 (in a book of Jewish history).
More literally “What do righteousness and lawlessness have in common.”
Most ancient manuscripts that are copies of Paul’s letter, don’t say “the devil.” Instead, the ancient manuscripts use one of several variations of a name people called him: Belial, Beliab, or Beliab. The name means “worthless.”
Here Paul begins running together loosely translated quotes from the Jewish Bible, which Christians call the Old Testament or the First Testament. In this verse he refers to Leviticus 26:12 (in a book of Jewish laws) and Ezekiel 37:27 (in a book of prophecy).
Paul continues quoting from Isaiah 52:11 (in another book of prophecy).
2 Samuel 7:14, from a book of Jewish history.
Paul begs the Corinthian Christians, “Don’t trash the kindness God has shown” (6:1). What kindness do you think Paul might have been talking about? He doesn’t make that clear, so it’s okay to guess.
Paul sometimes gets excited when he writes. When he thinks the stakes are high, he pushes hard. As you read the first 13 verses of this chapter, what string of words or subtle idea or big theme might suggest to you that Paul is pouring out his words like an emergency medical technician might be beating on the chest of an unresponsive patient? What might suggest he is in a frantic mode?
Paul produces a powerful list of credentials (6:4-10) to show that his ministry is sincere and the real deal. How do you think Christians in Corinth would have responded to this when it was read aloud at a church meeting?
Read between the lines. What do you think Paul means when he says he has endured hardships while “poor, while making others rich” and while “owning nothing, yet having everything” (6:10)?
Paul makes his case about why Christians shouldn’t partner with nonbelievers. He starts by asking, “How could the Messiah and the devil ever get along?” (6:15). What do you think makes that a particularly good starting point?
LIFE APPLICATION. When Paul told Christians in Corinth, “Don’t partner with nonbelievers” (6:14), what exactly do you think Paul had in mind?