1As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.2For he says, ‘In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation. (Isa 49:8)
3We put no stumbling-block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.4Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;5in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger;6in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;7in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;8through glory and dishonour, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors;9known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed;10sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.11We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you.12We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.13As a fair exchange – I speak as to my children – open wide your hearts also.
Warning against idolatry
14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ (Le 26:12; Jer 32:38; Eze 37:27)17Therefore, ‘Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’ (Isa 52:11; Eze 20:34; Eze 20:41)18And, ‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’ (2Sa 7:8; 2Sa 7:14)