2 Corinthians 9:6-15. The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
If you want to be a giver instead of a taker in this life you have to see all of life differently. You have to see yourself as God sees you. And you have to see what God has done in and for you. The more we understand grace, the more generosity will naturally flow from us as it did Christ. When we walk by faith not by sight, we will find that generosity and gratitude are just normal parts of our everyday life.
This is why God loves a cheerful giver. Shouldn’t God just be happy that I gave at all? Nope. Because God cares less about what you do than he does about why you do it. God wants your life to reveal his grace. That’s all. We are image bearers of the grace of God. God’s grace is abounding to you. It gives you all sufficiency in life. And this allows you to abound in every good work.
Generosity is only a good work if it comes from grace. Giving to help the poor, or tithing, or putting money in the offering plate is not a good work if it comes from guilt, pride, or apathy. Our actions only become good works when they come from an understanding of grace. They are only righteous when they flow from God’s imputed righteousness to us in Christ.
9 As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”
This is a psalm describing the righteous person. No, it is not describing you and me (not apart from Christ). Why? Because “there is none righteous, no not one.” There has only been one person in history that has fulfilled all of Psalm 112. Jesus Christ. Jesus distributed freely. Jesus gave to the poor. Jesus’ righteousness endures forever. This verse is not about you being righteous IF you give to the poor. It is about you being righteous BECAUSE Jesus gave to the poor – you and me.
2 Corinthians 8:9. 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.
2 Corinthians 9:9 is a statement of imputed identity. Christ’s righteousness, proven by his faithful giving to the spiritually poor, is now our righteousness in Christ. That is the grace of God.
The rest of the passage describes what “to live is Christ” looks like when God’s great grace takes hold of our life:
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. – This is a quote from Isaiah 55 describing the New Creation. God’s great harvest is alive in us spiritually today. There is a never ending supply of righteousness seeds available to you. Keep sowing seeds of righteousness by being generous. There is no shortage. There is no lack. Go nuts. Keep giving. The harvest of righteousness is coming.
You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way – God’s grace, which has declared us to be righteous, will bring an outlook and attitude of generosity to our hearts. We have nothing to lose and nothing to gain. We are crazy rich Christians. Every spiritual blessing is ours in Christ. This kind of freedom allows us to live for the blessing of others.
which through us will produce thanksgiving to God – Our righteous generosity blesses others. God will be thanked. And thankfulness is the launching pad for experiencing the joy of God.
while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you – The giver and the receiver will develop a beautiful relationship of mutuality through the meeting of physical and spiritual needs by sharing and praying for each other.
By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ – The gospel is proven once again to actually work. Your generosity proves the gospel. Giving that pleases God flows from our confession of the gospel – your faith. Those who truly believe the gospel of grace will simply be more and more naturally generous as they allow the gospel to take a greater hold of their heart.
Has grace made you a giver? How does the imputed righteousness of Christ free you to be generous?