1 We are workers together with God. So we beg you: Don’t let the grace that you received from God be for nothing.
2 God says,
“I heard you at the right time,
and I gave you help on the day of salvation.” Isaiah 49:8
I tell you that the “right time” is now. The “day of salvation” is now.
3 We don’t want people to find anything wrong with our work. So we do nothing that will be a problem to others.
4 But in every way we show that we are servants of God. We never give up, even though we face troubles, difficulties, and problems of every kind.
5 We are beaten and thrown into prison. People get upset at us and fight against us. We work hard, and sometimes we get no sleep or food.
6 We show that we are God’s servants by our pure lives, by our understanding, by our patience, and by our kindness. We show it by the Holy Spirit, by genuine love,
7 by speaking the truth, and by depending on God’s power. This right way of living has prepared us to defend ourselves against every kind of attack.
8 Some people honor us, but others shame us. Some people say good things about us, but others say bad things. Some people say we are liars, but we speak the truth.
9 To some people we are not known, but we are well known. We seem to be dying, but look! We continue to live. We are punished, but we are not killed.
10 We have much sadness, but we are always rejoicing. We are poor, but we are making many people rich in faith. We have nothing, but really we have everything.
11 We have spoken freely to you people in Corinth. We have opened our hearts to you.
12 Our feelings of love for you have not stopped. It is you who have stopped your feelings of love for us.
13 I speak to you as if you were my children. Do the same as we have done—open your hearts also.
We Are God’s Temple
14 You are not the same as those who don’t believe. So don’t join yourselves to them. Good and evil don’t belong together. Light and darkness cannot share the same room.
15 How can there be any unity between Christ and the devil? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
16 God’s temple cannot have anything to do with idols, and we are the temple of the living God. As God said,
“I will live with them
and walk with them;
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.” Leviticus 26:11-12
17 “So come away from those people
and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch anything that is not clean,
and I will accept you.” Isaiah 52:11
18 “I will be your father,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord All-Powerful.” 2 Samuel 7:8, 14