2 Corinthians 8:9 MEANING

2 Corinthians 8:9
(9) Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.--The meaning of the word "grace" appears slightly modified by the context. The theological sense of the word, so to speak, falls into the background, and that of an act of liberality becomes prominent.

That, though he was rich, . . . he became poor.--Better, that, being rich . . . The thought is the same as that expressed in Philippians 2:6-7, especially in the words which ought to be translated He emptied Himself. He was rich in the ineffable glory of the divine attributes, and these He renounced for a time in the mystery of the Incarnation, and took our nature in all its poverty. This is doubtless the chief thought expressed, but we can scarcely doubt that the words refer also to the outward aspect of our Lord's life. He chose the lot of the poor, almost of the beggar (the Greek word "poor" is so translated, and rightly, in Luke 16:20-22), as Francis of Assisi and others have done in seeking to follow in His steps. And this He did that men might by that spectacle of a life of self-surrender be sharers with Him in the eternal wealth of the Spirit, and find their treasure not in earth but heaven. As regards the outward mendicant aspect of our Lord's life, and that of His disciples, see Notes on Matthew 10:10; Luke 8:1-3; John 12:6.

Verse 9. - The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word "grace," as in vers. 4, 6, 7, here means "gracious beneficence." Though he was rich (John 16:15; Ephesians 3:8). Became poor. The aorist implies the concentration of his self-sacrifice in a single act. By his poverty. The word "his" in the Greek implies the greatness of Christ. The word for "poverty" would, in classical Greek, mean "pauperism" or "mendicancy." Dean Stanley (referring to Milman's 'Latin Christianity,' 5. bk. 12. c. 6) points out how large a place this verse occupied in the mediaeval controversies between the moderate and the extreme members of the mendicant orders. William of Ockham and others, taking the word "poverty" in its extremest sense, maintained that the Franciscans ought to possess nothing; but Pope John XXII., with the Dominicans, took a more rational view of the sense and of the historic facts.

8:7-9 Faith is the root; and as without faith it is not possible to please God, Heb 11:6, so those who abound in faith, will abound in other graces and good works also; and this will work and show itself by love. Great talkers are not always the best doers; but these Corinthians were diligent to do, as well as to know and talk well. To all these good things the apostle desires them to add this grace also, to abound in charity to the poor. The best arguments for Christian duties, are drawn from the grace and love of Christ. Though he was rich, as being God, equal in power and glory with the Father, yet he not only became man for us, but became poor also. At length he emptied himself, as it were, to ransom their souls by his sacrifice on the cross. From what riches, blessed Lord, to what poverty didst thou descend for our sakes! and to what riches hast thou advanced us through thy poverty! It is our happiness to be wholly at thy disposal.For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus,.... This is a new argument, and a very forcible one to engage to liberality, taken from the wonderful grace and love of Christ, displayed in his state of humiliation towards his people; which is well known to all them that have truly believed in Christ; of this they are not and cannot be ignorant, his love, good will, and favour are so manifest; there are such glaring proofs of it in his incarnation, sufferings, and death, that leave no room for any to doubt of it:

that though he was rich; in the perfections of his divine nature, having the fulness of the Godhead in him, all that the Father has, and so equal to him; such as eternity, immutability, infinity and immensity, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, &c. in the works of his hands, which reach to everything that is made, the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that in them are, things visible and invisible; in his universal empire and dominion over all creature; and in those large revenues of glory, which are due to him from them all; which riches of his are underived from another, incommunicable to another, and cannot be lost:

yet for your sakes he became poor; by assuming human nature, with all its weaknesses and imperfections excepting sin; he appeared in it not as a lord, but in the form of a servant; he endured in it a great deal of reproach and shame, and at last death itself; not that by becoming man he ceased to be God, or lost his divine perfections, thought these were much hid and covered from the view of man; and in his human nature he became the reverse of what he is in his divine nature, namely, finite and circumscriptible, weak and infirm, ignorant of some things, and mortal; in which nature also he was exposed to much meanness and outward poverty; he was born of poor parents, had no liberal education, was brought up to a trade, had not where to lay his head, was ministered to by others of their substance, and had nothing to bequeath his mother at his death, but commits her to the care of one of his disciples; all which fulfilled the prophecies of him, that he should be and "poor" and "low", Psalm 41:1. The persons for whom he became so, were not the angels, but elect men; who were sinners and ungodly persons, and were thereby become bankrupts and beggars: the end for which he became poor for them was,

that they through his poverty might be rich; not in temporals, but in spirituals; and by his obedience, sufferings, and death in his low estate, he has paid all their debts, wrought out a robe of righteousness, rich and adorned with jewels, with which he clothes them, and through his blood and sacrifice has made them kings and priests unto God. They are enriched by him with the graces of his Spirit; with the truths of the Gospel, comparable to gold, silver, and precious stones; with himself and all that he has; with the riches of grace here, and of glory hereafter. These are communicable from him, though unsearchable, and are solid and substantial, satisfying, lasting, and for ever. Now if this grace of Christ will not engage to liberality with cheerfulness, nothing will.

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