What does it mean to receive the grace of God in vain? Well, we know that the grace of God comes only through the death Jesus Christ. To receive the grace of God in vain, then, means that you didn't sincerely accept that Jesus died for your sins. Have you turned your back on Jesus? Do you sincerely love Him?
Paul and his co-ministers of the gospel endured trials of many kinds. Let's look at them again:
WOW. Read through that list again. Can you imagine? Would you continue to run that race? Would you stay firm in your faith if you suffered all that he did? He says that he got through it all with:
Do you think you could get through his hardships if you you had the above strengthening you?
I love the following verse:
Possessing everything- having Christ, who is the wellspring and purpose of life. That verse is so full of meaning for me. Even though I may not have all the worldly things that the world run after and work hard to gain- I have Jesus which surpasses any thing I could buy or attain. He provides satisfaction like no other- nothing I buy could ever fill me and complete me the way Jesus does.
First I want to point out that Belial is another name for Satan. These verses can be very troubling, discouraging or even insulting to a believer if they are dating, or even married to, an unbeliever. According to Scripture, in a few places, followers of Christ are not to associate closely with unbelievers- this may be in a close friendship or dating relationship. The term "yoked" means to fasten two animals together, typically oxen, so they work together and move as one in the same direction. In these verses Paul is using the term "yoked" to define one person united with another- they move as one in the same direction. If we think again to the oxen- both binded together, and one animal moves left, the other is pulled in that direction. If one stops, while they are in motion, the other will either need to stop also or the one who stopped needs to start moving again. They are one driving force. The same is with a believer yoked to an unbeliever. Granted, we are not fastened to eachother by a physical harness- but we bound to one another in emotions and possibly a physical wedding ring. If a believer is yoked with an unbeliever, it is possible that the unbeliever would strongly influence the ways of the believer. This is dangerous, which is a reason Paul warns against such a thing here. God does not want for a believer who is married to divorce an unbeliever. Although you chose to marry an unbeliever, or you became a believer while already married, God is still in control of all things. I believe that if you surrender your marriage to God, that He, in His time, will call your spouse to Himself. As it says in 1 Corinthians 7:12-14 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
If you, a believer, are in a relationship with an unbeliever- that is not bound by marriage- I would strongly urge you to pray and ask God to show you how to deal with this. It is clear through Scripture that God does not want you in this relationship. If you love this person, you can still pray for their salvation while being separated. Would you risk your eternal life because of an earthly relationship? Other places in the Bible where this text is confirmed:
What an incredible chapter- I hope you feel the same. If you have any questions, please email me.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?