Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Truth About New Covenant Giving Part 2

By S. Michael Durham

New Covenant giving is based upon God’s grace given to the believer. In this article, let’s look at how this grace of giving works.

First, it works irrespective of economic class. It works in the poor as well as the rich. Paul tells the Corinthians that although the Macedonians were “in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality” (2 Corinthians 8:2). The word deep means “down to the bottom.” It’s to be as low as you can go. The Greek word Paul uses translated poverty is a word to describe a beggar. So, to be financially challenged is no excuse for not giving. The Macedonians were so impoverished that Paul at first refused their giving. Yet, in this extremely poor group of believers the grace of giving worked amazingly.

Second, the grace of giving works beyond human ability. Again the Apostle writes concerning the Macedonians, “For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing” (2 Corinthians 8:3). God’s power grants the believer to do things that are not either natural or based upon circumstances. Grace can empower us to give beyond what seems to be our ability to give.

I know many people today are concerned about the economy. I was talking with a deacon from another church and he mentioned to me how their giving had decreased because of the recession. But in light of this text, if Christians are giving by grace should recessions always decrease giving? It seems to me giving that is based upon the economy is not based upon grace.

Grace may work beyond a person’s ability but never beyond his will. God’s grace does not force us to give, but asks us to give willingly. Paul says, “they were freely willing.” Grace works in and through the will. We desire to give and even enjoy our giving. This too is amazing grace.

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