A Man with Grace on His Mind

“Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!” (2 Co.9:15)

Yesterday we discussed the “unspeakable gift.” We know from the context of this exuberant exclamation that Paul is talking about the Grace of God. A quick reading of what led up to this burst of enthusiasm from the apostle will show that he was a man with grace on his mind.

Consider this. Paul writes to the Corinthian church so as to ready them for a visit from himself. The primary purpose of the visit is to pick up a promised collection of goods and resources for the relief of the famine-smitten Christians in Jerusalem. Paul has told other churches throughout the region about the Corinthian’s pledge of generosity, and one of the churches – the Philippian church in Macedonia – had followed the Corinthian’s example and already given a gift of relief to Paul.

before the stroke of 12Now on his way to Corinth with a few of the leaders from the Philippian church, Paul thought it best to write and make sure they were ready to deliver on their promise. In this short section Paul speaks about God’s grace no less than seven times. 

Let’s review.

First he tells them that God “bestowed His grace on the churches of Macedonia” and thereby empowered them to do what even they themselves did not realize was possible. “For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints” (2Co 8:3-4).

He then writes, “We urged Titus to bring to completion this act of grace on your part” (2Co 8:6), and then personally challenges them – “see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”

Then Paul lifts their vision high and points them to Jesus – “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2Co 8:9).

Finally, Paul gets to the heart of the matter -– “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2Co 9:8). In other words, whatever it is that God wants you to do He will see to it that you have everything you need to get it done without skimping or cutting corners – and you will even had something left in reserve.

Paul then tells them he is on his way, travelling “with this grace” (i.e., the tangible evidence of God’s power displayed in and through the Philippians). (see 1 Co.8:19).

And he concludes his appeal with a promise – “men will praise God for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you!” (2Co 9:13-15).

Finding his heart full, and finding himself incapable of fully explaining what he feels about all of this, Paul erupts and shouts – “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Co.9:15). In a single word – GRACE!

How might your day be different if you go through it with Grace on your mind? Might you find yourself bursting forth into praise before the clock strikes twelve?

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