Perhaps no subject in the Bible is more misunderstood than that of “grace.”
And working together with him we entreat also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain (2 Cor. 6:1).
Many entertain the notion that grace is some sort of divine blanket that is unconditionally thrown over the sinner to cancel the effect of his sin. This is a serious misconception.
Grace has to do with the undeserved extension of God’s favor upon the sinner. No one can earn it; but it must be accepted by creatures upon whom the Maker has bestowed freedom of choice.
And so Paul, in the passage under consideration, entreats that men “receive not the grace of God in vain.”
First it is clear that the grace was received. Grace is offered to all (Titus 2:11), but not all will receive it. Noah found grace in the eyes of God (Genesis 6:8), but his deliverance from the flood came as a result of his obedience as well (6:22; Hebrews 11:7).
Second, the grace received had to be retained; hence the admonition, “receive not the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:2). The implication of this phrase stands in bold relief to the sectarian doctrine that a child of God can never lose his salvation.
Mark two things. Underline “receive,” and note: Grace conditional. Then mark “in vain,” and record this comment: Possibility of apostasy. See “1 Peter – The True Grace of God”.