BEHOLD, NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION
2 Corinthians 6:1-2 We then, as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
Although the opening verse of this chapter of Paul's letter to the church at Corinth appears to be merely an introduction, it is filled with lessons for students of God's word. First of all, Paul says, we then, as workers together with Him. "We" often included other apostles and inspired disciples of Christ, as well as fellow workers, that Paul personally chose, and trained to serve God. Here, as he often does, Paul gives much credit to co-workers that traveled with him, while preaching and teaching the gospel of Christ, or to those that aided him in various cities he visited. He rarely took complete credit for the success of his godly mission, and constantly recognized, by name, those that assisted him in any way. He especially gives credit to God, not only for His Holy Spirit-inspiration, but also for His guidance, sustenance, and protection that allowed him to preach eternal salvation through Jesus, the Savior of mankind, throughout the known world.
The word "beseech" tells us how he, and other fellow laborers, sought to teach God's word. They presented the gospel of Christ in a meek, kind, and gentle way. They beseeched, that is, they begged, and pleaded with hearers to accept Jesus as their Savior. Fellow preachers, in this world today, take note. Sinners and their unrighteous ways can be effectively reformed much more favorably when God's word is presented in a beseeching and pleading manner. Sinners have a tendency to rebel against arrogant preaching presented in a severe, condemning, humiliating manner, and rarely come to repentance for their erring ways.
The grace of God, in this text, refers to the ministry of reconciliation discussed in the previous chapter - God's word, the gospel teaching that reconciliation to God by all sinners can only be found in Jesus Christ, His Son (See 2 Cor. 5:18-19). To receive the grace of God in vain, is to hear God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, but to ignore its pleadings and fail to submit to the obedient steps necessary, that culminates in being baptized into the body of Christ. This is similar to reading, or hearing, of a medical cure for an illness, but failing to submit to it. In such case there will be no cure. Likewise, hearing the gospel of Christ does not save. Even the acts of obedience that follow hearing, that is belief, repentance, and confession, will not assure the hope of salvation. These must be followed by baptism - a burial in water, required by God, for the remission of past sins. Baptism is required by God for one to become a Christian and be added to the body of Christ. All of these steps of obedience are necessary for salvation. God established both the plan of eternal salvation, and the necessary requirements to have access to it. Unless His way is obeyed, the grace of God (will be) in vain.
Quoting the meaning of Isaiah 49:8, Paul continues by saying, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. The prophecy here refers to the time accepted for the coming of the Messiah to earth, and the day of salvation to the time when His kingdom, the church of Christ, was to be established. It was in His body, and only in His body - His church, that the hope of salvation can be found, by all that obey the will of God. It was this will of God that Paul preached during his ministry of reconciliation. The quotation continues and ends with this urgent plea: ...now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.
The urgency was the same on the Day of Pentecost, when, for the first time ever, the gospel of eternal salvation, through Jesus Christ, was preached in Jerusalem, by Peter and all of the other apostles of Christ. To this urgent plea, three thousand heard the word of God, and immediately submitted to it, obeyed His will, and were baptized into Christ. This being completely done, as God had required, they obtained the hope of salvation by being added to the church (by God), (See Acts 2:14-47). The urgency of obedience to the will of God is present throughout His holy word. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9b). God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to earth for this purpose: to call ...sinners to repentance (Matt. 9:13b). God continues to call all to salvation, today, tomorrow, and until the end of time. Obey God's call. There will never be a better time to do so than NOW! During life on earth, a person will do many things that they will regret, but one will never regret the day they gave their life to God and was baptized into Christ! ...now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation!