Paul quotes Isaiah 49:8 in verse 2, noting that now is the favorable time for their salvation. Receiving God’s grace in vain refers to having been saved and now running the risk of slipping away. He points out that they experience great persecution unjustly (verses 8-10), but they endure hardships and adversities by the gifts of the spirit within them. Verses 14-18 are often taken to mean that Christians should not have any associations with unbelievers, but such is not the case since he tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:10 that we would have to “go out of the world” in order to do that; and we must be “in the world” in order to spread the gospel. Jesus prayed about being “in the world” but not “of the world” in John 17:15-16. But their association with idol worshipers is problematic; and it may drag many back into its clutches (verses 14-18)s.
The applications for us are 1) that our faith in Jesus as Lord is our anchor when we suffer adversity and 2) that if we have a sinful inclination that we have overcome, we should not put ourselves in a position to be taken back into that sin. Just as it would be a mistake for someone who had been an alcoholic to return to frequenting bars for company, those who had previously worshiped idols should not return to spending time at those temples.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.