“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 through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8v9
One of the very striking things about reading the New Testament letters is the way that the apostles appeal to the example of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the passage quoted above, Paul is dealing with the subject of giving generously to support the poor. But he doesn’t just appeal to some general principle – that Christians should be kind to the poor – he appeals to the example of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul points out how the Lord Jesus Christ was willing to impoverish himself in order to provide for our needs. And then he appeals to us to follow his example. The loving, sacrificial, generosity of our Lord is what moves us, motivates us, and inspires. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4v19)
Christian ethical commands are not a matter of cold, arbitrary commands. They are all about being Christ-like. They, essentially, all come under the heading of “becoming like Christ”. We all love Romans 8v28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We always need to keep it attached to the next verse (Romans 8v29): “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” That means that the “good” that God is working out “in all things” is that you and I become like our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, what could possibly be better than that?!
Let’s return to the issue of giving to meet the needs of the poor. As Christians we should show the same loving, sacrificial, generosity to the needs of the poor that the Lord Jesus Christ has shown to us in meeting our spiritual poverty.
This is going to be a highly relevant issue for us in coming months. It is very clear that one of the consequences of the pandemic is that it will bring a great deal of hardship to the poorest and most vulnerable people on our planet. Will we as Christians respond with loving, sacrificial, generosity? Let’s rephrase that: – will be like our Lord Jesus Christ?
Leave a Reply