Bible 1 Yr – Day 175 – Do Not Accept the Grace of God in Vain

Take a look at the first sentence of Chapter 6, something you might pass over as you get into the chapter without realizing its implications:

1 Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain.

Now that is a loaded sentence! The Corinthians are converts. They believe in Christ, they have already been converted by the Holy Spirit. But throughout this letter Paul is cajoling them to RETURN (or be reconciled) to unity and communion with him. Here he is stating his point directly. The Corinthians have accepted the grace of God but if they continue on this path they would have done so in vain.

Break down this simple sentence and look at all it shows us:

1. “Working together with him” – Paul says this elsewhere, we are God’s co-workers.

2. “we entreat you” – they are being made aware of their error. The Corinthians are being told that they are in error and being asked to change their ways.

3. The grace of God can be “accepted” – to accept is a choice. One can accept or not accept a gift. That is free will.

4. The grace of God can be accepted “in vain.” – They accepted, they were saved. Paul was there. He oversaw their conversion personally but they faltered and followed false preachers and started believing false doctrines and thus there acceptance will have been in vain, if they do not repent and be reconciled.

Thus this simple sentence establishes free will and excludes the idea of once saved always saved. It shows that even though one is saved, one can “loose” their salvation in that they can fall into error and sin AND once being made aware of their error and sin, they can choose to continue to follow error and sin and not be reconciled. THIS IS THE KEY POINT, mistakes or errors made in good conscience do not cause you to lose your salvation. HOWEVER, once you are made aware of you error you cannot persist in holding onto that error. This is the point Paul makes in his subsequent verses. He tells them that now is the time to be reconciled and he details all the hardships he has endured to be their example and spiritual father. Paul is cajoling them to be prepared to bare similar hardships to be reconciled.

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21 Responses to Bible 1 Yr – Day 175 – Do Not Accept the Grace of God in Vain

  1. Jon musso says:

    Dave that’s a stretch Paul theology is not catholic. His whole theology is based on grace through faith alone. This passage is about apostate believers who are in the covenant community, but there not seal by the spirit. Your trying to say that faith is not significant in of itself, or your saying your truly seal by the spirit which Paul
    Says happens at conversion in Ephesians, that just simply not true, we are saved by one thing the gospel.

    What is the gospel? The gospel is the saving works of Jesus Christ on the cross, the god man lived a perfect life died and was resurrect and those who believe are in Christ through faith. Unbelievers are in Adam, believers are in Christ, your theology is you can be in Christ, and than change your mind and go back into Adam. Technically your way Jesus could have died for nothing. We justified by Christ alone we bring one thing to salvation, our sins.

    • Justin Ihnat (St. Ignatius of Loyola) says:

      Was St. Paul Protestant? Absolutely not. The Gospel is EVERY bit of wisdom given to us by Christ through His Holy Bride, the Church. Christ bore our sins on the Cross so that we may reconcile with God, so that we may be forgiven, and so that we may achieve Paradise in the most efficient way we are told. I hope to see you all there!

      • Jon musso says:

        I wouldn’t say he was Protestant I agree he was Christian, but he didn’t hold to the church as the final authority he held to the bible as the ultimate authority! Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, we connect to Christ, and are part of God ultimate plan, but the church connect to Christ, christ doesn’t connect to the church at the end of history in the new heaven Christ comes, not a church, it’s all him, Justin! I hope you are well, God bless you, thank you for your love for your church it’s a beautiful thing, let God bless you, and I’m not be obnoxious you love the church and so did Paul.

  2. How could Saint Paul, who wrote from approximately AD 50 to his death in approx AD 67 hold to the bible as the “ultimate authority” if 2/3rds of the New Testament was not written until AFTER he died and the Bible as we know it was not canonized until the A.D 300’s?

    • Jon musso says:

      The spirit was in the Old Testament, as well, I hold to both testaments are just as authoritative Christ is in the Old Testament, we see that in psalm 22. The bible is God final authority, Dave I will never move from that, presupposition, just like I’m certain your supposition is the church, is the final authority, and this is where there no middle ground, and I certainly respect you, and Justin, be we will never agree on final authority! Thanks

  3. Excellent point Jon! Let’s ask St Paul himself, who wrote, “I hope to come to you soon. However, I’m writing this to you in case I am delayed, so that you may know how to behave in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”
    1 Timothy 3: 14-15

    So according to St. Paul, scripture and your presupposition scripture doesn’t say it is the ultimate authority, it says that the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth. Pillars and foundation support massive structures. Thus, it is the Church that supports the truth. Sometimes this passage is translated as “bulwark of truth”. Bulwarks are defensive structures thus the Church is that which defends the truth.

    St. Paul again wrote these words before much of the Bible was written AND certainly before it was canonized into the Bible we know today. And we know, that it was the Church, in approx A.D. 360 that put the Bible together. Today we read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John b/c the Chruch said those books are Scripture. We do not read the gospel of Thomas b/c the Church said it was not authentic scripture.

    Thus we see St. Paul’s words were in fact prophetic. Because the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth it provided the earthly authority necessary to establish the New Testament. Ironically, without the Church you would have no scripture to base your presupposition on. Further, just as in ACTS 15, what is true in heaven was revealed to the Council in A.D. 360, the Church then “bound on earth what was bound in heaven”. The Chruch has no authority to change this revealed truth.

    • Jon musso says:

      Your missing my point the church is authoritative as it connects to Christ. Who is the church those who hold to virgin birth, the perfect life, death, and resurrection! Scripture is organic it builds on it self. Paul the church are those who are in Christ, they are the new covenant believers, the Old Testament is Israel history, Paul was Saul he was a Jew who now is under the leader of the church, Christ! Israel fulfilled history is the savior. Paul saying don’t go backward to Israel of idiol worship he not saying Catholics are fulfillment church are new covenant believers.

      • Jon musso says:

        The new covenant believers are the church, that the continuity, that scripture demands. Your seeing scripture in isolation that not good hermeneutics will all due respect!

  4. The Church is more than just those that believe certain things. We know this b/c Jesus says if you don’t listen to the Church you are to be treated as “a gentile and a tax collector”. I.e., you can get kicked out. If I am in the army and I get kicked out, I’m out – no matter what I believe. Paul himself instructs them to kick out people who sin. You can’t be kicked out of something that is solely ethereal and spiritual. The Church is both the universal body of believers AND a worldly organization. That is why the bible itself says that the Church is the “pillar and foundation”. To uphold the truth it must be an organization capable of speaking the truth to the world. To canonize the bible, it must be a visible organization capable of proclaiming the correct books to the faithful. Jesus said when there is a dispute, “go tell it to the Church” (Matthew 18). One cannot go tell a dispute to the universal body of believers. One needs a place to go and someone to speak to.

    I take your point about all believers being part of the Chruch for granted. It is a given. But one cannot toss out the other more plain meaning. The Church was founded by Jesus as a visible organization, it is his body, it is the pillar, it is the foundation, Jesus told us to go to it with problems, the first Christians did and in doing so they defined the contents of the bible. If we didn’t have a visible Church we wouldn’t have a bible. The Lord said that the Holy spirit would lead the Chruch into “all truth” and that the “gates of hell would not prevail” against his Church.

  5. Jesus is God AND Man. God is one AND trinity. The Church is visible AND invisible.

    How can Jesus say, “go tell it the the Church” if there is no visible Church to tell it to?

    • Jon musso says:

      He talking about evangelizing when you except Christ, you are part of the church, the visible church is the church being the hand and feet of Christ this is strongly emphasized in the New Testament! He’s not saying the church are Catholics in isolation! I think to hold to that misses the point of the New Testament!

      • Jon musso says:

        In my opinion Catholics and Protestant love God they just see the word of God, history, and God redemptive plan very different! Hear my question for you and let see if we can agree on salvation! How’s does one become part of the new covenant?

  6. Jon musso says:

    The reason I asked is, where do the difference lie, do we see the gospel the same way, or are we so separate that the gospel as we know it different, I told you what the gospel is to me I would love for you or any catholic define the gospel to me.

    • Jon musso says:

      I look at what you said about Paul he talking about apostate Christian, there claiming in faith with an unregenerate heart, I said this before they are in the covenant community, but there not sealed! Paul saying get out don’t be half in half out, he saying you are of Jesus, or Adam, you can’t be half hearted their not part of the elect, it’s the same argument James make in the last chapter of James.

    • Baptism is the ordinary means of entry into the new covenant. However, baptism presumes Grace.

  7. Jon musso says:

    The reason you didn’t answer my question on the gospel is you believe salvation belongs to Catholics!

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