This morning we conclude our series of studies on what the Bible has to teach concerning the doctrine of grace giving.
This is the tenth and final segment. In the 1 Timothy 4, the Word of God says,
“Til I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Meditate upon these things. Give thyself wholly to them that thy
profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine. Continue
in them, for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself and
them that hear thee.” In the book of
Acts we read, “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea
and Galilee and Samaria and were edified, walking in the fear of the Lord and in the
comfort of the Holy Spirit were multiplied.
The Grace Way of Giving, No. 10
This past week a man called me from the hospital and asked
me to come by and see him. When I arrived he said, “The reason I asked you to come by is because
nobody lives forever. When I go to be with the Lord
and the time comes for a service for me, I want you to conduct
it.” I assured him I would be glad
to do that and would have some appropriate things to say when that occasion came.
People indeed need some right information about death and
what happens after death. For this reason, I’m happy to call your attention to the newest tape which
we have produced which is dealing with this subject of explaining how a person
can go to heaven. It’s a thirty minute tape
and it’s designed as a tool for you to exercise your ambassadorship
as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, perhaps in a way that you have never done before.
I’ve been thinking about this for some time and I
increasingly feel that this will be a means of reaching people that has
not been really capitalized upon. So, one side of the tape tells people the gospel and what to do with it, and
what’s involved in being born again. It’s called “How to Go to Heaven.” The
second side explains the place of Bible doctrine instruction in building
spiritual maturity in the Christian life and it’s called “The
Christian Life.” So, this tape has great possibilities,
especially as a door-to-door ministry for you to return and discuss
further with people what they have listened to. I hope you’ll be in prayer for this. Some
people are already using this, and they are available to you in the tape room this morning.
The greatest hazard of course to the Christian life is
ignorance of doctrine and of negative volition to what we do know. This reflects some of the breakdown in our
society relative to authority. What takes place out in society toward authority is being reflected
everywhere in the local church in the rejection of pastor-teacher authority. It is amazing. I
cannot believe how many people are disoriented on this—even people who are seminary students. I begin to suspect that something is
happening in seminaries where they are not being alerted to what God is
calling them to do out in the field once they leave that classroom. There is an oppressive burden of religion
even upon people preparing for the ministry that is fantastic. The disorientation to the responsibilities
that God has placed upon them if he ever leads them into a pastor-teacher ministry.
I have some qualms of heart as I look upon some people, and
all I can say is, “God help the church that gets some of these
people for pastor-teachers,” unless in the meantime they get oriented to
what the business of authority and their responsibility is all about. Somebody pointed out that most of the college
students these days come from secular universities, and in secular
universities there is by and large this breakdown toward authority—the
authority within marriage, the authority of parents over children, the civil authority
within our society, and the authority of husbands over wives. The whole thing is challenged. The
whole thing is being eroded. Students who come out of these secular
schools have been contaminated by the spirit of rejection of authority. The walk into a local church and they
don’t realized that they’re imposing the same disorientation relative
to spiritual things that they picked out in society. So
we have this resistance to the authority of the government, the
authority of the military, and so on down the line.
You cannot reject what you hear from a pastor-teacher
exercising his teaching gift. You cannot reject what you hear unless you know and can demonstrate and can point
out that the Bible teaches something to the contrary. In the meantime you should keep your mouth closed
and not even raise a question of doubt to anybody else, until you can demonstrate the reason
for that doubt. Don’t go around you know
what I think about certain things unless you have had occasion to
listen to some tapes and see what I think. We make
fools of ourselves very frequently by imposing a point of view on a
pastor-teacher which is a distortion of what he really believes. Get straight what we think and what we
believe before you are willing to make a decision and a declaration
because you may lead somebody far astray. Many a
Christian, so to speak, has the blood of other believers on his hands
because he shot off his mouth about things that he didn’t understand. He raised doubts and threw out challenges to
pastor-teacher authority, and it destroyed people who couldn’t
take it—people who couldn’t rise to it; people who weren’t smart enough to
overcome your negative responses.
2 Corinthians 9:12-15
So, the greatest problem to the Christian life today is on
the one side ignorance of the Word and on the other side resistance to
what we have learned. Now in the immediate
context of this chapter, turn to 2 Corinthians 9 that we’re going
to finish up. We have learned in verses 8 through
11 that God is constantly able to supply the believer with a
superabundance of material and spiritual capacity for divine good. Secondly
we learned that God does not multiply money used for the necessities and the legitimate expenditures
of life. It’s alright to spend things
for that, but God will never multiply in divine good or in more money for
you to invest in the Lord’s work what you use upon your own necessities
and what you use upon your legitimate expenditures—for entertainment, and so
on. If it’s grace given to the Lord’s work, it’s
multiplied as divine good and as more money to be given to the
Lord’s work. He does not multiply what we use upon necessities.
The Effects of Grace Giving
So, we pick up the final verses beginning at verse 12 where
we have the effects of grace giving. Verse 12 says, “For the administration of this
service not only supplieth the want of the saints.” The
“administration” here is the Greek word “diakonia.” This word means
“ministry,” or “a provision.” It refers here in this
context to the provision of money to this Jerusalem relief fund for the
relief of the saints in the church at Jerusalem who were undergoing a time of
starvation and of considerable privation. He says that this administration or this provision
of this service. The word “service” is the Greek word
“leitourgia.” This word was originally
used by the Greeks for wealthy citizens within their society who
financed public events, such as the chorus for the Greek drama, or the
outfitting of the military vessels, the Triremes, or for training of gymnasts.
This was a public service contribution. Now in the New Testament, this word is used
by Christians about a provision to God and to society. So, it has often come to note a religious
service or provision, or we might say the provision of this sacred service.
Now what is Paul referring to here? He’s referring to the Corinthian gift as
a service to these Christians in Jerusalem, and it is viewed as a general
public service to the believers. You and I are called upon to give our money to public
service causes. It is wise for us as believers to consider when
we give money to public service causes, how many other people of the
world will support those causes as over against how many will support the work of
the Lord? We have a legitimate reason for placing our funds in the work of the Lord and permitting the unsaved,
the unbeliever, to sustain these social action programs that he is interested in and that he will provide for. When you
provide for believers and the Lord’s work, you are providing for the nation.
So, between these two words we have the concept of a ministry
in the form of a sacred service which is to be supplied through grace
giving. For the ministry of this sacred service “not only supplieth the wants of the saints.”
Now this word is “prosanapleroo.” This word is a triple compound word. “pros” means
face to face. “ana” means “again.” “pleroo” means to fill up a
deficiency. So, this word is saying to fill up a deficiency again and again for someone. That
is, to supply someone’s needs fully. Here it comes to mean the physical needs of
the Jerusalem saints in their privation is provided fully and completely by the Corinthians.
This is where we have the indication that what the
Corinthians gave was quite a large sum of money, especially when it was
put together with all the other churches of Macedonia and (other regions). When it finally ended up going to Jerusalem,
this was quite a sum that they took. It provided, it filled up fully the deficiency of these people relative to
their physical needs. Now this is one of the results of grace giving. God uses it to
meet the physical needs of other Christians. The Word of God tells us that we have a certain duty
and responsibility for meeting the physical needs of other Christians.
Now some background on James: James was the executive head of the church of
Jerusalem. They had many elders, but James was the elder who was in charge because the church had said,
“We recognize you as God’s appointed pastor-teacher in this church. You are the
pastor-teacher.” That’s what James was. There were plenty of other elders, but James
was the one who was the leader, who was the director, who was the
quarterback on the team who called the plays. When the other elders said, “James, we don’t think you ought to
do this,” and there was a difference of opinion, then they held a church meeting. The ultimate authority was the
congregation. Don’t let anybody ever erode in your thinking the authority of the congregation.
That is the place that calls the plays. It is not the elders who tell the pastor what
to do. The elders as representative and executive working committee can advise the pastor. But it is the congregation that is the
ultimate deciding source. When there is a difference of opinion, you go to the congregation and ask what to do.
God’s people indoctrinated in the word of God
indicate what they think, and the pastor-teacher then has his direction
from them. Now that’s what James was, and
James had a lot to say about this subject of taking care of taking care
of people’s physical needs. When he spoke as a pastor-teacher,
he spoke with some authority. He knew what he was talking about. He was delivering the mind of God.
James 2:15-16 says, “If a brother or sister be naked and
destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, ‘Depart in
peace, be warmed and filled,’ notwithstanding ye give them not those things
that are needful to the body, what doth it profit?” Now
James couldn’t put it any stronger. What good is it for you to tell some Christian who
has some physical privation and need, “The Lord bless you brother,” when
he’s hungry and cold and destitute?
1 John 3:17-18 says, “But whosoever hath this world’s good
and seeth his brother have need and shutteth up his compassions from
him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children let us not love in word…” That’s important: “Let
us not love in Word.” Now this is the professional who comes and smiles at you with his mouthful of teeth,
and he uses his clichés and his religious words. You would be surprised how many religious people we
have even among people who are going into the ministry. It’s
fantastic. People cannot get over the idea that religion is not these pour savages dancing around
the fire. Religion is in churches that teach the Bible, where you have people all uptight that they’re going
to make points with God by what they do and what they don’t do, what they wear
and what they don’t wear, and what they say and what they don’t say. You have no idea how weird it is.
I was at a party not so long ago. It was a Hawaiian party. A seminary student was there. When I came in
in my lava-lava, the thing you wrap around, and I had my hair combed down like one of the original
Beatles, because you’re supposed to look like a Hawaiian original, and I walked in doing
the hula. Now this student was offended. He was so distressed to see me doing the hula. Well if you saw me do
the hula, you’d be distressed too. It’s lousy. But you have to be some kind of
weirdo to say, “Oh, he didn’t look very spiritual.” That’s
what bothered him. Well, I’m going to do the hula in a more
spiritual way next time, because I’m going to be careful about
that. But this is that loving in tongue, in word—what
I say to you. I can’t believe how many people will swallow this guff. You say this sweet
and nice thing, the sweetness and light, and now you have proven you love people?
Well, pastor-teacher says otherwise: “My little children, let us not love in
word neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” Boy that means works. That
means what you do. And “in truth”
means doctrine. James says that if you want to
demonstrate love toward somebody who is in need, spiritual or
otherwise, you don’t do it with your mouth. You do
it with what you give him in truth and what you do from that frame of
reference of what you do for him—not what you say, not your clichés.
So, the result of grace giving is that God uses it to meet
the physical needs of other Christians. It is a Christian’s duty to consider the need
of other believers relative to the necessities of life.
The latter part of verse 12 speaks about stimulating
gratitude to God. He says, “But is
abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God.” This is in addition to meeting the material needs. This ministry of sacred service not only
supplied the want of the saints; that is, these Jerusalem Christians. But it was abundant by the fact that it drew out thanksgivings unto God.
Now the word “abundant” is “perisseuo.” It means to super
abound. It literally means to overflow. The idea of this Greek word is to take a
container and pour into it more than it can hold so it starts
overflowing. What he is saying is that their grace giving
not only met the material needs of these people, but it resulted in a
welling up of an emotion—a right and a good emotion, an emotion of
thanksgiving and praise to God so it just flowed over and flowed over and flowed over. It was a superabundance of thanksgiving and
expression of gratitude. Their material needs had been met, but in the process it bestirred a gratitude to God. Did you notice that? That
the gratitude, the thanksgivings, were unto God? Now you might say they should
have written a letter of thanksgiving. They should have written a letter of appreciation to
the Corinthian church, shouldn’t they? Now all of you
religious people would say, “Yes, that’s what they should
have done. As soon as that money came, they should have
said, ‘Now, we’re going to appoint the clerk to write a
letter of gratitude to the people in the Corinthian church.’” Now I’m not saying that’s wrong to do,
but it is wrong if you don’t understand that first your thanksgiving goes to God. And that the main thrust of the thanksgiving of
these Jerusalem saints was indeed to the Lord, not to the Corinthian Christians.
This is a characteristic about grace giving that you must
learn. Most of the time the praise unto God which is drawn forth by the money you put in the box is never heard
by you. You are not the one who is thanked
directly. It is God who is praised. It is God who is thanked. When it is legalistic giving, then you have
given it on such a basis that you’ll get the thanks. You’ve given it on such a basis that we will
come up to you and we will praise you and express gratitude to you for
it. Now there are some people who know how to give so that God gets the praise. Now
grace giving has the spiritual effect of causing the beneficiaries to
thank and to praise God. Legalistic giving brings
credit to the giver. Now the great blessing of Grace giving is to see God honored and given the credit, so
you don’t hear the thanksgiving. This thanksgiving does stem from the grace of God which is provided to the
believer which provided the believer with the money in the first place and also with the
doctrinal orientation so he could give.
So, what does a Christian do? You and I take God’s money that He has given
us in grace, and we sow it in the Lord’s work. This planting
produces a harvest. What we spend on ourselves produces nothing, but what we plant in the Lord’s work
produces a harvest of divine good and it causes great thanksgiving to return to
God. It starts with God and it returns to God. That’s the order. It goes full circle—from God, through you,
through your planting, and back to God in thanksgiving. You and I are not involved in this grace
operation anyplace along the way except as stewards who are handling somebody else’s credit card.
This grace operation with a Christian’s money requires
doctrinal understanding of these principles of grace giving that we
have been studying. It is God’s grace that
gives us even this understanding so that we can exercise our giving ability.
So, one who has a material deficiency can expect to have that
met by God’s people. But if you have a
material deficiency, you do have something to do, and that is to pray
in the meantime while the funds are making their rounds and going through the
circle of handling from God through the believer to you. Prayer
is the place for our participation in our need. So, God uses believers, but He
alone deserves the credit.
These Jerusalem saints were broke but we’re told that they
provided thanksgiving to God. They were praying for aid. They were looking to
God, and He provided the money from the Corinthian Christians who were
not broke, and God was thanked for the whole operation.
Even spiritual leaders have material needs. One of the problems of spiritual
leaders is that they can’t provide those needs because they don’t have
time. As life goes along, the needs become greater, just as with other people, but they have to have this provision on the
same cycle, from God to His people, to them, just as these Jerusalem saints did.
So, verse 12 says, “For the ministry of this sacred service
is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also
overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.” Then
in the final verses 13 through 15 we have the results of grace giving. The first part of verse 13 is the praise of
God. “While by the proving of this ministration
they glorify God.” The word “while” here
means “because of,” that is “occasioned by.” The word “proving” here is
“dokima.” This means to test something in order to demonstrate
the good that is there. We might say, “Because of the
evidence” of this sacred service, the Corinthians’ grace
giving to the Jerusalem relief fund revealed something good about them to the people
who were receiving their gifts. While they prove this service they (the Jerusalem saints) glorify God, constantly
praised God the Father. Why? Because the giving of these Corinthian saints
has demonstrated something about their character which is that they
were oriented to grace and that they were able to give so that God could be praised.
Here’s the cause of their praising: “For the proving of the
ministration they glorify God for your professed objection unto the gospel.” The word “profess” is the Greek
word “homologia.” A similar word is used in 1
John 1:9 about confessing one’s sins. This is a related word meaning
“confession” or “acknowledgment.” The acknowledgment here was their subjection,
and this word “subjection” is “hupotage.” This means that they have made an
acknowledgment of subjection to the gospel. These Corinthian Christians have
made an acknowledgment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Here’s what he’s saying: The Jerusalem Christians, who were Jews, knew
that these Corinthians, who were Gentiles, had made a confession, an acknowledgement of
subjection to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now this
obedience to the gospel was demonstrated to the Jerusalem saints. It was documented to them by the grace giving
that the Corinthian Christians exercised. Jewish and Gentile Christians had a background of
mutual distrust. The Jewish Christians were very reluctant to
accept Gentiles as part of the body of Christ—as being genuine
believers and one with them in Christ. So, the Jewish
church was a little cagey about these Gentile Christians, and the Jews
were legalistic. People in these Gentile churches tended to be very relaxed about things, and especially the
church at Corinth which had gone often from just liberty to license. So, there was a little hesitancy on the part
of the Jerusalem Christians viewing these Gentiles. But what happened here was just as the Good
Samaritan, a non-Jew, demonstrated the love of God, so these non-Jewish
Gentiles become the good Gentiles who demonstrate the love of God. It may have been too that these Jerusalem
Christians heard about the disorders in Corinth—they heard about
how carnal this church was and the terrible things that were taking place. So, perhaps they had some questions about the
genuineness of what the Corinthians were saying, “We profess a
subjection to Jesus Christ.” We can do things that
will raise questions in peoples’ minds relative to our
relationship to the Lord in salvation, and certainly our devotion to him.
So, what he says here is that the grace giving confirms to
people your subjection to Jesus Christ. In other words, you go around and say, “Yes, I
love the Lord.” You go around and say, “I have a devotion to
the Lord Jesus Christ and to the Lord’s work.” Then your giving, which only you and God know,
reflects something to the contrary. Your giving is far short of it
should be with your status in life. Your giving is anything but what reflects your obedience and subjection to
the gospel of Jesus Christ. When you do give under grace, it bestirs praise and thanksgiving unto God. For your liberal distribution while by the
proving of this ministration they glorify God for your professed
objection unto the gospel of Christ. For your liberal distribution unto them and unto all men. The
liberal distribution is that word “haplotes” which means “generosity.”
The Corinthians were not stingy givers. Salvation came to them by grace so they acted
in grace in their giving. They did not give as if they were slaves of the details of life and still belonged
to Satan’s family. They were liberal givers.
The word “haplotes” means “singleness of mind.” They had
a single purpose and therefore they could gather together to give to the Lord’s work.
They were not double-minded people. Here is single-mindedness. When
you have a work that is single-minded, it’s directed toward the Lord’s glory, toward executing the
Lord’s plan, all the single-minded people are going to be drawn to it. When one of these people becomes a
double-minded Christian, that means that he gets interested in something else,
he is going to flake off. Pretty soon you see him disappear from that work. Where
is he? He’s someplace else because he has other interests. If he
hangs on to his original work, it’s going to give him trouble
because he wants to do certain things. He wants to go in certain directions. While he’s in
that original work, there’s no room for that. This place is moving right down the straight and
narrow line in God’s plan and that’s what it’s operating on. If you’re single-minded,
great. But if you’re double-minded, you’re no longer happy so you find yourself
someplace where there is a double-minded principle that allows everybody to do his own thing.
What these people had was a “haplotes,” a single-mindedness
of purpose. Consequently they would flock together. This word means that
there is no fold in the cloth for you to hide anything under. It was for them to put their money together
for this cause for the Jerusalem saints.
This word “distribution” is the Greek word “koinonia.” This
means “fellowship.” It’s the same word that we use for Christian
fellowship. What they had was a fellow feeling, and that’s what
their contribution was. It was an expression of a fellow feeling for people who were in need.
And this went unto all men. The love of these Corinthians spread abroad. It touches the doctrine of positional
truth. Everybody in the body of Christ is deserving of our love equally. The
body of Christ is a unity. 1 Corinthians 12:26 says that when one part hurts, everything hurts.
So, verse 13 says, “Because of the evidence of this sacred
service (that is the grace giving of the Corinthians), they (the
Jerusalem Christians) glorify God for your obedience to your acknowledgement of
the gospel of Christ, and for the generosity of the contribution to them
(to the Jerusalem Christians) and toward all.”
Here’s another principle (principle number 21 that we’ve had
so far): Grace giving provides funds to something which we at the moment may instinctively not like but which
God approves. This is difficult to learn. Most of us tend to feel that we should give
to the things that we like. If something comes along and we at the moment instinctively don’t like it,
like the Gentiles didn’t care too much for the Jews and the Jewish Christians
weren’t too hot for those Gentile Christians, we instinctively think we shouldn’t
help them. They were not particularly compatible and yet
grace giving guides to give even when we are not compatible. It isn’t hindered by our personal tastes
or our temperament. It is a ministry of a sacred service. It is not a ministry of
rapport or compatibility.
What we have here is that many Christians rob God of money
that they should give because they don’t feel compatible with the
target toward which they should be giving their money. They
don’t have rapport. They don’t have a happy emotional feeling. They’re
down in the mouth. They heard a sermon that they felt cut them down so they went home and they
brooded about it. They cut out their giving for several weeks. Or the congregation had a
meeting, and the decided to do something and they were voted down in
the eyes of the congregation as to what God wanted that group to do, so they
went home and they quit giving for a few weeks because they were down in the mouth.
This is emotional giving. This is rapport giving. That’s
what these verses are telling us, that the Corinthians, while having
cause to have resentment toward the Jews who had rejected them as Gentiles
originally, did not fail to give because they weren’t particularly compatible
with that legalistic church in Jerusalem. We do not give on the basis of emotional motivation. Any
time we give on emotional motivation, this is human viewpoint giving, and it is productive merely of human good.
Grace giving is not emotional giving, that is as far as its
motivation goes. Yet there is great happiness when you give under grace. There
is emotion in grace giving, but it is not the emotion that
motivates you to give. It is doctrinal understanding that gives you your motivation. So
it’s the filling of the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of Bible
doctrine—these are the true motivations for all Christian giving.
The response on part of the Jerusalem saints was an
emotional response because it says in verse 14, “And by their
prayer for you.” That is, while they also prayed,
who long after you. The result of the gift from the Corinthians who are operating on grace giving and not on
rapport emotional giving, so they gave in spite of not being entirely
compatible with those people, because God had directed that they should give: The result was that the Jerusalem saints
prayed for these people who were their benefactors. This is the Greek word “deecis.” This means “a prayer for a desperate
need.” They asked God for people that they had never met to meet every need that they may have, every
desperate need. The response of the Jerusalem saints was intercessory prayer for them because, it says, “They
longed after them.” The word “long” is “epipotheo,”
this means a deep desire and an affection of longing. In other words, the Jerusalem saints fell in
love with people they had never met, and they had a great emotional
attachment to these people because grace giving had been functioned under by the
Corinthians. Grace giving is used by the Holy Spirit to create an emotional response.
“For the exceeding grace of God” gives us the cause. This
introduces the reason. The Jerusalem Christians weren’t affectionate
in their feelings toward them because of the money they gave and their
needs met, but because of the grace of God which was demonstrated in them. Here’s something very important. It is called the “exceeding grace of
God.” The Greek word is “huperballo.” This means to go
beyond the limits—to go absolutely beyond the limits.
What went beyond the limits? It says, “in the exceeding grace.” What they had was, of all things, super grace. The thing that created the emotional joy and
thanksgiving and affection in the hearts of the Jerusalem Christians for the
Corinthian Christians was that they saw in the Corinthian people not only grace
operating, but super grace. These people in Corinth who had once been so carnal had gotten on the stick with
Bible doctrine and they had moved from the point where they were not just
grace people, where they were not just spiritually mature, but they went on
beyond that to the super grace life. This means that there’s something more for you and me even after we have
established a spiritual maturity structure in our souls. God
says, “I have something at a certain point where you become mature
as a believer, that I’ll now take you into the super grace life,
and the super grace life is the greatest life of all. Now
if you want some real kicks, that’s the life to head for, but it
starts on the basic building of spiritual maturity structure in the
soul, which is what the Corinthians did.
Now, grace giving, real grace giving reflects super grace in
the life of a believer. For this, the Jerusalem saints gave thanksgiving to God. They
were not moved because of what merely they received. They were moved in their souls
because grace giving, the generous grace giving of the Corinthians reflected the
super grace status of their own souls. It’s all
of God. The money was from God. The giving was from God. The
super grace was from God, and the emotional response of affection was from God.
So, verse 14 says, “And by their intercessory prayer on your
behalf, our longing after you with deep love, because of the super
grace of God upon you.” God provides Bible doctrine. He gives us the
pastor-teacher. He gives us a living human spirit for God to teach and for us to store the Word in. He gives us the Holy Spirit to instruct
us—the whole grace system of perception. Day-by-day use of this system will build a maximum
level of doctrine in your life, and when you come to a certain level of doctrine in your
life, you will discover that you have broken out into the super grace life. That’s how it goes. It goes from zero nothing through doctrine
through the grace system of perception, with all that that connotes with all
its details, and it goes up here to super grace. Now it’s a day-by-day, bit-by-bit,
piece-upon-peace thing. There are not many Christians who enter the super grace life, but that’s the
believer who has entered real living. It has fantastic repercussions and demonstrations in his life.
So, the divine gift, finally, in verse 15, that inspires all giving is the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul
says in a kind of a closing benediction to his teaching here on the doctrine of giving, “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable
gift.” The word “thanks” here is the word “grace”
which can be translated as “thanks.” It says, “Thanks to God,” and it’s The God who is the
Father. Gratitude to God is the idea, “for his unspeakable gift.” The word
“unspeakable” here is “anekdiegetos.” This word means “indescribable.”
It’s unspeakable in the sense that it is indescribable. God’s indescribable
gift is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ that we celebrate at this Christmas season. He is called God’s “dorea”
which means a free gift from God, not something we deserve.
So, here’s the closing note of praise about the Lord Jesus
Christ which is the gift of the Savior from God and is our frame of
reference for our giving. The gift of the Son is motivated by the grace of God, and that sets the motivation for our
money giving. Nothing we give can compare with God’s indescribable gift of His Son. So
verse 15 says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”
Now briefly, here’s what we have learned concerning the
principles of grace giving: There is a lot of detail. It’s hard to
summarize these because there are so many sidelights and so many amplifications
of every principle that really illuminates it. You’ll
just have to go over the tapes in detail to get all of this later,
but in brief, here’s what we have learned:
1) Tithing has no part in grace giving (Romans 6:14B, 2 Corinthians 3:7-13).
2) An emotional love for money is the source of all kinds of
evil in the believer’s life (1 Timothy 6:10).
3) Grace giving stems from the mental attitude of grace orientation (2 Corinthians 8:2).
4) Grace giving must be voluntary (2 Corinthians 8:3).
5) Grace giving is a privilege to be eagerly sought (2 Corinthians 8:4).
6) Grace giving requires soul giving first (2 Corinthians 8:5).
7) Grace giving depends upon the believer functioning daily under the grace system of perception (2 Corinthians 8:7).
8) Grace giving is a test of the genuineness of one’s love for God (2 Corinthians 8:8).
9) The ultimate pattern for grace giving is found in the example of Jesus Christ on the cross (2 Corinthians 8:9).
10) A believer priest oriented by doctrine to grace giving will always have the desire to give even if he is without funds (2
11) Grace giving completes the provision of financing that God lays on our minds toward certain projects (2 Corinthians 8:11).
12) Grace giving places the emphasis upon the spiritual status of one’s soul rather than on the amount given (2
13) Grace giving seeks to equalize the supply of the necessities of life among believers, but not to impoverish the giver (2
14) Money given to the Lord’s work by Christians must be handled so as to be above question before God and man (2 Corinthians
15) The generous financial support of the Lord’s work through grace giving by a group of believers is an encouragement to
other Christians to follow (2 Corinthians 9:1-2).
16) Grace giving cannot be associated with the pressure of embarrassment if it is to be a blessing to the giver and the gift
itself to be a blessing (2 Corinthians 9:4-5).
17) What is given in legalism reaps legalism, and what is given in grace reaps grace (2 Corinthians 9:6).
18) The decision for grace giving is made in the believer’s mind in a way free of resentment or a sense of compulsion and is the
only giving which God accepts (2 Corinthians 9:8).
19) God is constantly able to supply the believer with a superabundance of both spiritual and material capacity to produce
divine good (2 Corinthians 9:8).
20) God does not multiply as divine good and as more money for the Lord’s work what is used for legitimate necessities and
expenditures of life (2 Corinthians 9:10).
21) Grace giving is out of funds on hand from the Lord, not on pledges of future funds (2 Corinthians 8:11, 1 Corinthians 16:2).
22) Grace giving draws forth thanksgiving to God which the donor may never hear from those blessed by his gift (2 Corinthians 9:12).
23) Grace giving is unto the Lord so it provides funds to causes which a Christian at the moment may instinctively not like
though God approves it (2 Corinthians 9:13).
24) Grace giving draws forth the affection of the beneficiaries toward the donor (2 Corinthians 9:14).
May God help you to enter into these factors, to enter a new era, the super grace era in your giving.
Dr. John E. Danish, 1971
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