Scriptural Text: 2 Corinthians 6:1-10.
Welcome to The Gospel Exposition Blog. We trust you are being enriched by our posts. God bless you continually. The topic we are considering today is “Labouring Grace – the grace that labours“. This post aims to encourage believers to strive according to God’s working at work in them mightily. God’s word makes you wise and strong as you read through. Amen.
We know it is by grace that we are saved through faith, without our works or labour, Ephesians 2:8. In other words, salvation is wholly Christ’s labour, Christ’s sacrifice. But we should also know that the grace we have received is not meant to lie fallow, unproductive and useless in us. Grace is not meant to be received and ignored.
2 Corinthians 6 (NKJV)
”1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”
Paul, encouraging the believers, pleaded with them not to receive the grace of God in vain. It is important we see that he was not talking to pastors, he was actually encouraging everyone in Christ – every believer, and he said we are workers together with Christ. From that verse, we would also see that to receive the grace of God in vain is not to work with it or to be a lazy worker. He encouraged that having received the grace of God, we do not let it lie fallow and unproductive, but rather, we labour with the grace received, commending ourselves to the work of ministry into which we are called. 2 Cor 5:18. In other words, a believer (minister of the New Testament) would have to labour to give offense in nothing. It is labour that makes a minister who would not bring reproach to the gospel. Labour is not always easy, but it is certainly helpful. When a believer labours (prays, studies, meditates, fasts, perseveres, speaks in other tongues etc.), it is not to help the gospel but to make him or her fit for the gospel. Labour gives fitness in the things of the spirit. As a minister, many are life encounters as one journeys in the walk with Christ. However, labouring with the grace you have received will prepare you ahead to stand tall above all challenges.
Let’s study 2 Corinthians 6:3-10. (NKJV) – Emphasis mine.
“3 We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.”
Did you see that? A co-worker with Christ gives no offense in anything. He or she does not profane the name of God by his or her actions and inactions. The one is always ready for the work, always prepared, through labour.
“4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses,”
It takes labour to be patient in all things – tribulations, needs, distress etc. It is the strength you have obtained through labour that gives you an edge over others that were lazy and complacent with the grace received.
“5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings;”
All of these are not sweet and pleasant to the body, yet, as ministers, you move ahead, labouring with the grace of God and trusting His mighty saving hand. You cannot be defeated.
“6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,”
As a believer and minister, you maintain your purity – not defiled in any way, you grow in knowledge, exercise longsuffering, show kindness, full of the Spirit, manifest the spirituals and have a sincere (unconditional) love. This is called labour! Labour gives the strength you need in every situation.
“7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,”
A co-worker speaks the word of truth boldly and clearly and by the power of God and the armour of righteousness, he walks and works with God.
“8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true;
9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed;
10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
It does not matter what the situation, challenge and circumstance is, you keep going and growing in grace, always moving forward.
These (2 Corinthians 6:3-10) will happen only with a labouring grace and not the one taken for granted.
Therefore, we commend (approve) ourselves as able ministers of the New Testament. Believers approve themselves by consistent labour, not putting the gospel to shame.
Apostle Paul’s case study
Ever wondered why Apostle Paul was successful in the ministry? He laboured much with grace.
1 Corinthians 15
“10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
Paul, having received the grace, did not let it be in vain but laboured abundantly. He is not boasting here, he is glorying in Christ. This (abundant labour) is the reason why he was successful. He also said, in another place, “to this end I also labour, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” Col 1:29. He recognized the working of God’s grace at work in him and yet did not neglect the striving (labouring) that should accompany it to be an effective minister.
In conclusion, if you are reading this, and you are a believer, you are a minister of the New Testament, set aside to be a workmanship. Ephesians 2:10. Therefore, God’s riches (grace) in you are not expected to lie fallow but to overflow, reaching out to others. And this can be done by labour and discipline. Paul said, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine”. 1 Tim. 5:17. A lazy worker can’t be effective and is not honourable. Don’t be lazy. Labour now, and always. Labour in the spirit. Labour in word and prayer. Labour in service. Labour in evangelism. Labour in abundance. Withhold not your strength. Receive not the grace of God in vain. Dear reader, be diligent, and you will be amazed at the things you will wrought in Christ. Selah!
You may want to say this confessional prayer: Dear Jesus, I thank you for your saving grace and of your fullness I receive and enjoy daily, grace for service. I am an able minister of the New Covenant, I am not lazy, I labour abundantly and I do not receive the grace of God in vain. Amen.
We are sure you enjoyed this post. We would be glad to have your questions and comments if you have any. Please do well to share with friends and check us again on Thursday for more of God. Thank you and God bless you.