God's Indescribable Gift

2 Corinthians 9:15: "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

There is much that is said in this verse. Certainly, in the overall context of 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 the central focus is on giving and Christian charity. As you may remember, the church in Jerusalem was in need and the apostle Paul called upon the other churches to help.

The Macedonian churches had already helped, giving more than they could really afford. As 8:3 says, “…they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.”

Now the Corinthian believers had begun the work already a year ago, but had lapsed in completing the collection (see 2 Cor 9:2). They pledged to give to the poor Jerusalem church a year ago but there had been a problem of collecting the money that was pledged!

So in this letter Paul exhorts the Christians to give what they have promised. Paul is sending a team ahead of him to collect their pledge, knowing that they are ready and eager to fulfill what they have promised (2 Cor 9:5). In order to motivate the Corinthian believers for the collection, Paul reminds them of the grace and the gift they received from God.

Paul encourages them in this manner in chapter 8:9, exhorting them to pattern themselves after Christ, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” The same principle is said in 9:14b.

Then Paul concludes this whole section of his letter with a brief doxology saying, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” It is that last verse, that last sentence that I would like to focus on with you here. Let us consider how that truth might influence our lives and service to the Lord, especially in making us generous.

There are those times in our life when we read the Bible or listen to a sermon that the Holy Spirit turns on the light in our mind and we see clearly the glory of Christ. In one chapel devotion on this passage, I was drawn all the more to God’s gift, our Lord Jesus Christ.

As I was listening to the speaker, he came to this verse where Paul says God’s gift of salvation in Jesus Christ is “indescribable.” Suddenly it hit me. The reason why these Corinthians are so generous is because they understand that in Christ they have everything. In Him they lack nothing.

In Christ, God has given them the greatest gift beyond words. And with Him, they have been given everything they need. Nothing comes to us, no blessing – whether material or spiritual – comes to us apart from God’s grace in Jesus Christ. He is the greatest gift of God to you and me. When you have Christ you abound in many other things.

Read 2 Corinthians 8:9 and 9:8 and you’ll see that God grants us His gracious gift and He promises abundance to us. But take note also that God has a purpose in blessing us. And what is that purpose? Clearly God promises to supply abundantly so that we would be able to give generously to others. Paul wants the Corinthians to be free from the fear that generous giving will leave them impoverished or financially broke.

So don’t you ever think that when you give freely and cheerfully to others, especially the family of God, you will become poor and broke. No. The truth is, before God, you will be rich and you actually cause others to glorify God as you live generously by the grace of God.

Let’s move the thought a little further. Why does God promise material abundance to those who cheerfully and freely give? It is in order that "you may have an abundance for every good deed" (9:8b). Note how Paul uses a "string of universals" in verse 8. "God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed."

God’s blessings are not only intended for our own benefit but really for us to abound in every good work, particularly in doing good works to others, especially those in the household of faith.

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