2 Corinthians 6:1-13

2 Corinthians 6:1‑13  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The apostle in the last verses of the fifth chapter spoke of the word of the gospel he carried to the world,—the ministry of reconciliation. He now (verse 1) addresses the careless believers and mere professors of the name of Christ at Corinth. The two words in italics, “with Him” (added by the translators), may be omitted, for it is as “fellow workmen”, or “jointly laboring” (in God’s service) that Paul, associating others with himself in the work as he constantly did, turns to the Corinthians to whom the Epistle is addressed, beseeching them that they receive not the grace of God in vain.
Those there in whom there was faith needed to be aroused to a walk much more according to the mind of God than was their habit, and they who only professed Christianity must be reminded that lip profession, baptism and attendance at meetings—things good, in themselves,—are valueless before God, without the reception of the message of His salvation into the heart by way of the conscience.
“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation,” says the Holy Spirit by the Apostle. The time of the promised blessing has arrived, and it must be taken advantage of.
Since the word of the gospel was first published, many millions of human beings have lived and died—gone into eternity, either saved or lost; either as believers, let us say; or unconcerned about their souls; either heeding or ignoring God’s “now is the day of salvation.”
In which of the two classes are you who read these lines, passing on quickly on life’s short journey?
Verse 3. Led by the Spirit of God, Paul writes now of the way he carried on his ministry, the conduct which marked his course as the Lord’s servant, His ambassador; conduct which befitted one to whom it was given in a special way to represent the risen and ascended Christ. Appropriately he begins,
“Giving no offense in anything, that the ministry be not blamed.”
This surely is a suited motto for every one who essays to serve Christ! One to be remembered and made effective upon all occasions and in all circumstances.
Verses 4, 5. The apostle continues:
“But in everything commending ourselves as God’s ministers, in much endurance, in afflictions, in necessities, in straits, in stripes, in prisons, in riots, in labors, in watchings, in fastings  ... ”
The path he trod was that of his Master; in it we see nothing of self-display, nothing of making for himself a place of honor or distinction; no avoidance of trial, whether the circumstances arose from the enmity of Satan, the opposition of ignorant men to the light of God’s truth, or a low spiritual state among the believers.
Verses 6, 7. “ ... In pureness, in knowledge, in long suffering, in kindness, in the Holy Ghost, in love unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God, through the arms of righteousness on the right hand and left..”
We are sensibly led deeper into the ways of the beloved apostle as he had been taught of God. A common worldly saying is,
“Practice what you preach;” that is exactly what Paul did, and it ought to be a distinguishing mark of every one who would serve the Lord.
“In the Holy Ghost” would be under His guidance and direction, not necessarily with power displayed; “in the power of God” brings in power, and this is by the Holy Ghost.
“The arms of righteousness” were Paul’s, not the righteousness of God conferred upon believers, but uprightness of conduct.
Verses 8-10. “ ... through glory and dishonor; through evil report and good report; as deceivers and true; as unknown and well-known; as dying and behold, we live; as disciplined and not put to death; as grieved, but always rejoicing; as poor, but enriching many; as having nothing and possessing all things.” Whether held in honor or the reverse, Paul kept on his course with unaltered purpose.
To his beloved Philippians (chapter 1:20-21) he wrote, “according to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also, Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” And to the elders of the Church or assembly at Ephesus who came to him at Miletus (Acts 20) Paul said,
“Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears and temptations which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews.  ... And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there, save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
Never since, we are persuaded, has the Lord had so devoted a servant as Paul.
In verse 11, the Apostle turns again to the saints at Corinth in the warmth of an affection born of God. As we noticed in the first two chapters, the Corinthians had judged themselves on account of their ways as set before them in the First Epistle, and Paul had now much liberty in writing to them.
“Our mouth is opened to you, Corinthians, our heart is expanded. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your affections; but for an answering recompense (I speak as to children) let your heart also expand itself” (JND).
There was ample room in Paul’s heart for these saints; not in equal measure was there room in their affections for him. He sought it now from them, and at the same time would exhort them regarding their associations.