“As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it” (II Corinthians 6:1 NLT).
I recently purchased a copy of the second edition of the New Living Translation for my personal reading, and when reading II Corinthians came across the above challenging paraphrase. What struck me was the “accept [God's grace]… and then ignore it.” For decades I have taught II Corinthians 5:17, the “new creation” verse, and almost always go back to show the context from about verse 14 to the end of the chapter. But I don’t ever recall going on to this first verse of chapter 6. Remember, the chapter divisions are not inspired!
The NLT is the only translation I could find that used the word “ignore”. The KJV “in vain” is repeated in a majority of translations, and the Greek word means “empty”. The Amplified says “do not receive it to no purpose.” The CEV encourages the reader “to make good use of God’s kindness to you.” The old Good News Bible and God’s Word translations use the phrase “not let it be wasted.” The Message Bible paraphrases it this way, “please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us.”
So whichever translation or paraphrase you prefer, it is clear you can become a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17) as a result of God’s grace and provision and not enjoy the blessings it delivers, either through a lack of appreciation for what it is, or through a lack of desire to be everything God has planned for you to be. “Don’t accept it and then ignore it.”
I’m more inspired than ever to keep teaching this wonderful truth, as hundreds of other preachers and teachers have done before me (see their articles on my other site, peterwade.com). I cannot understand how so many know the passage but do not make it foundational to all they teach. The new creation is not just another way at looking at God’s gift of eternal life; it is God’s revelation through Paul as to what actually happened at the moment of the new birth.
“The new has come… and all this is from God” (II Corinthians 5:17-18). So start thanking God for the new life He has placed within you, and read the Word to discover the many diverse ways it can change your way of living.