Archive for May 4th, 2020

2 Corinthians 8:6-9

In 2 Corinthians 8:6-9 Paul reminds the Corinthian church that Titus was there to share the letter to the church, and to collect the offerings that Paul hoped the church would freely give. The plan was for Titus to receive the collection, then he would give it to Paul. Because of some of the past tension between the church and Paul, they needed a nudge. “Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace.” The Corinthian Christians may have intended to give. They may have thought about giving. They may have been favorable to the idea of giving. Yet all of this was useless unless they did in fact give. Our intentions, vows, and resolutions are useless without action. It was time for the Corinthian Christians to act, and Titus was sent to help them do this.

Paul talks about the Corinthian church with a little tongue in cheek here. The Corinthian Christians probably thought of themselves as abounding in all those things, but their actions were different. “But as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you – see that you excel in this act of grace also.” The ability to give and the heart to give is a free gift from God. Giving is a work of God’s grace in us. When you see a believer who is truly generous, a great work of God has been done in their heart. Giving is equally as important as other things the church was doing.

But Paul doesn’t want them to respond to some heavy handed message. He wants their faith, and ultimately their grace from God to motivate them to give. He doesn’t want to force them to do what they should willingly and joyfully do on their own. “I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.” Our giving should be like God’s giving of grace to us: giving freely, generously, because we want to give. When God gives to us out of grace, the motive for His giving is in Him, not based in the one who receives. That is how we should give – because the motive of the love and generosity of God is so big in our heart that we simply must give.

Paul now reminds the church of the amazing love and grace God demonstrated to us through Christ. He points to the deity of Christ, who was with God from the beginning and had it all before He took on the mission God gave Him to come to earth and take on humanity. He was rich in heaven seated next to God. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” Just as Jesus added humanity but never lost His deity, so He also “added” poverty but never “lost” His riches. Most amazing of all is why Jesus accepted this simple life of poverty: for your sake. This was Jesus’ “giving.” He didn’t have to but chose to in obedience to the Father.

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