2 For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
The word “for” gives the reason “not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Co 6:1).
He [God] says:
Paul cited Isaiah 49:8 in the Septuagint verbatim with the following words. His challenge was to accept God’s grace (2 Co 6:1). The quote was a rebuttal to the Corinthian Judaizers who wanted to impose the Mosaic Law on the church at Corinth. The Isaiah quote was in the context of God bringing Israel back from exile in Babylon. Paul applied this prophecy to the Corinthian church. The quotation demonstrates how the relevance of the citation was real during the time of Paul and onward.
“In an acceptable time I have heard you,
The context of Isaiah 49 announced that God would universally provide salvation for both Jews and Gentiles (Isaiah 49:6). Salvation is God’s initiative. The “acceptable time” is the time of God’s grace.
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”
The “day of salvation” is the time when God demonstrates His grace. As God restored Israel from exile, He will reconcile people of the present generation.
Paul used “behold” twice in this verse, indicating the urgency of his remarks. The word “behold” then calls attention to and focus on the truth of a statement. Paul left the quotation from Isaiah 49:8 and made an application to the church. As God would help the Servant of the Lord in Isaiah and sustain Him in ministry, so He would help the Corinthian church in their ministry.
now is the accepted time;
God delivered Israel from captivity in Isaiah. Here the “accepted time” refers to the age inaugurated by Christ and His death on the cross. God accepts those who accept what Christ did for them.
Salvation is an urgent issue. God used the word “behold” twice in this verse for a purpose. It was not to take up space in the Bible. He emphatically gains attention for the point He makes in this verse.
now is the day of salvation.
The Corinthian church received acceptance by God at their salvation. The argument is not that Christians can be lost again after their salvation. Since Christ’s death has reconciled the believer, much more will they be saved by His life (Ro 5:9-10). Nothing can separate them from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Ro 8:35, 38-39). Since He saves people, He will glorify them.
God accepts those who embrace His plan.
Christians spurn God’s grace by relapsing into legalism. God’s plan was not what the believer can do for Him but what He did and does for the believer (Ga 3:1-6).