1LABORING TOGETHER [as God’s fellow workers] with Him then, we beg of you not to receive the grace of God in vain [that merciful kindness by which God exerts His holy influence on souls and turns them to Christ, keeping and strengthening them–do not receive it to no purpose]. (Amp) What does this verse mean when it says, “do not receive it in vain”? Is God saying: Do not turn away when you hear me calling to you to accept Me as your God? Or is He saying: Do not receive Me and then live like you have not received Me? Or does this verse tie straight in with what is being talked about later in the chapter—doing or not doing the things later mentioned in this chapter would be receiving God’s grace in vain?
2For He says, In the time of favor (of an assured welcome) I have listened to and heeded your call, and I have helped you on the day of deliverance (the day of salvation). Behold, now is truly the time for a gracious welcome and acceptance [of you from God]; behold, now is the day of salvation! (Amp) This is actually God, Himself, speaking, to me, to everyone! “Thus says the Lord, In an acceptable and favorable time I have heard and answered you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you; and I will preserve you and give you for a covenant to the people, to raise up and establish the land [from its present state of ruin] and to apportion and cause them to inherit the desolate [moral wastes of heathenism, their] heritages, Saying to those who are bound, Come forth, and to those who are in [spiritual] darkness, Show yourselves [come into the light of the Sun of righteousness]. They shall feed in all the ways [in which they go], and their pastures shall be [not in deserts, but] on all the bare [grass-covered] hills.” (Isaiah 49:8-9Amp) In the verse from 2 Corinthians, it sounds like he is saying, “I have listened to and heard you” to us, us being anyone who will call on Him. He has heard our cry for help, He is here to save us. In the verse from Isaiah He sounds like He is talking either to Jesus or to the people of Israel when He says “I have listened to and heard you” because He also says, “I will give You as a covenant to the people”. AS in, “Son, I have heard your love for these people and I will give You as a covenant to them to save them?” I could be way off here, but it just seems that this is how these two different sets of verses tie in together. “And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!” (Isaiah 30:18 Amp)
6By innocence and purity, knowledge and spiritual insight, longsuffering and patience, kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love; (Amp) This is how I am to live for God, in God. In innocence, and my innocence is Jesus Himself; He lived a pure life to God the Father, died for my guilt, and rose from the dead, and He lives inside of me. I would have no innocence in me if He were not in me. “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch (Sprout), and He will reign as King and do wisely and will execute justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name by which He shall be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6 Amp) In kindness. In The Holy Spirit; literally living in the LORD Who is living in me. “But the one who joins with the Lord is one spirit with the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 6:17 NCV) In unfeigned love; this means genuine love, not a put on or half hearted but full blown in your face on your heart love. Who is Love? God is Love. “He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love.” (1 John 4:8 Amp) “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16 NASB) And genuine love is stimulated by being in the love God has for us, and by letting the love of God live in us: “IF I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1)
7By [speaking] the word of truth, in the power of God, with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand [to attack] and for the left hand [to defend]; And this is how I am to fight for God. By speaking the Word of Truth; now every Word that comes out of the mouth of God is pure, unadulterated truth. Who is the Word of Truth though? Jesus Christ is the Word of Truth. He is The Word we are born from. “For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved.” (Romans 19:13 Amp) “Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 Amp) Jesus is the Word we fight by. “And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17 Amp) But remember how we fight, which is how we live, in Jesus, Who is the Word, Who is One of the Three Persons of the LORD, Who is Love.
12There is no lack of room for you in [our hearts], but you lack room in your own affections [for us]. By way of return then, do this for me–I speak as to children–open wide your hearts also [to us]. (Amp) This is Paul, talking to the Corinthians; but could this also be God, talking to those Whom He has called who have not called back to Him? Could this be God, talking to those who have already called back to Him and belong to Him, but have shut Him out again for one reason or another? I truly don’t know, I am just speculating.
14Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership have right living and right standing with God with iniquity and lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness? He goes straight from asking them to open their hearts to them into talking about not being yoked with unbelievers. Is it tied in together and I’m missing something, or is this just the very next topic in the letter?
15What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial [the devil]? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement [can there be between] a temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and with and among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Amp) I’ve always heard it said that believers should not be yoked with, married to, under contract with, unbelievers because the believer will be ensnared by that person’s unbelief. And whenever you look at the Israelites and see how God told them not to mary foreign men and women because they would start to follow their idols, and the Israelites didn’t listen, and went and married foreign men and women, and forgot God and started worshipping things, you can see that this is true. I am not saying this in judgement, I don’t even have a husband to draw me away from God and I feel like I forget Him on a daily basis all on my own. I cheat on God with my self. How narsasistic and unloving can you get. Anyway, that whole little rant just to point out that I am merely making statements. But maybe God wants us to stay unyoked from unbelievers for their sake as well. Believers in Jesus are one body, not one born of egg and sperm, but one born of the LORD. We are Jesus’ vary body. we can’t be, shouldn’t be grafted back into the earthborn body, we no longer even have the same characteristics, we could not go back into the unbelieving body if we tried. But it isn’t like we are fleeing from you who are in the unbelieving body, wanting nothing to do with you. If we love you, we should want everything to do with you. So we want you to be grafted into Jesus’ body with us by the Holy Spirit. This is the stuff arguments are made of, because I seem to be saying, it’s my way or the highway. That is not what I am going for. I am no one special to command that a person who does not follow Jesus change his or her mind and follow Him. No believer has this authority and none should. It is God who calls every single person: “No one is able to come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me,” (John 6:44 Amp), and it is God Who saves every single person Who says yes and believes on Him: “For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], “or through my own striving,” but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]”. (Ephesians 2:8-9 Amp) We tell you about our LORD, and we should, out of and with love for our LORD, like an orphan who can’t stop talking about the mother and father Who have adopted him and shown him love; and out of and with love for you, like that same child begging you orphan to come and be part of Our family. We would be doing neither ourselves nor you any kindness by grafting ourselves back into that body, we should rather let God’s Spirit pour through us and around us to tug on you to be grafted into Jesus’ body if we love Him and you so much. Again, it sounds like it’s me verses you, us verses them. That is not how it should be. We are fighting satan and his demons along with Jesus, not people who don’t believe in Jesus as their LORD and Savior. I am asking you to come and be my brother, my sister, not because I am better than you, but because when Jesuscalled to me and gave me His Holy Spirit to fill me, it was amazing. The LORD is Who it all comes back to, He is the One. Come to the LORD if and when He calls you, not to me. Be my sister, my brother, a part of me, not my notch on a belt, not my project–that is worthless. Look to the LORD, He is God. And He loves us with all of His Heart, and with all of His Soul, and with all of His Mind, and with all of His Strength. “The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 Amp)
17So, come out from among [unbelievers], and separate (sever) yourselves from them, says the Lord, and touch not [any] unclean thing; then I will receive you kindly and treat you with favor, And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. (Amp) You are the LORD Almighty! You are a jealous and zealous God for us. You don’t want us to be distracted from You buy anything or anyone, like a husband with his bride; and I wouldn’t want You to turn away from me LORD. And this is a blessing to us, for You to give us Yourself and want us to be all wrapped up in You, You are already all wrapped up in us! I love You. “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deuteronomy 4:24 Amp) “Set me like a seal upon your heart, like a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy is as hard and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead). Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame [the very flame of the Lord]! Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.” (Song of Solomon 8:6-7 Amp) “But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and knows Me [personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing My character], that I am the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:24 Amp) “You are My witnesses, says the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know Me, believe Me and remain steadfast to Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.” (Isaiah 43:10 Amp) “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and He Who formed you from the womb: I am the Lord, Who made all things, Who alone stretched out the heavens, Who spread out the earth by Myself [who was with Me]?—“ (Isaiah 44:24 Amp) even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no Savior.” (Isaiah 43:11 Amp