Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Source of Grace-Giving

By S. Michael Durham

2 Corinthians 8:9 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.

We are stewards. This is the theme of this series. And this can only mean we have given ourselves to our God and relinquished control. Now all you possess is not yours. It never was. Therefore, giving is not really giving, is it? If it’s not yours then you can’t give it away. But if you disperse and invest it as the Lord instructs you, well then, you are merely administrating or managing His possessions. Will He not keep and provide for you if you manage His affairs as He directs? Of course He will. What kind of employer do you think Him to be? He is an excellent Master who will not let one of His stewards lack what he or she truly needs.

Perhaps you have forgotten His kindness to you. Remember the terrible debt you were in? You owed holy justice a terrible amount, and you had nothing wherewith to pay. Hell, the eternal debtor’s prison where the inmates suffer the agony of their debt to God, was your due. Do you remember the guilt you experienced? The law’s stinger had deeply penetrated your soul and nothing could remove it. All of your religious activities did not lessen your agony. All of your good deeds and promises were band-aids that did not heal. No preacher could ease your pain. No church could medicate your wound.

But then came the Great Physician. He came to you. With hands that had been pierced by the law’s demands, He extracted law’s stinger with lovingkindness. Do you remember? The immediate relief was so great and inexpressibly joyful. Instead of the torrential pain there was a river of gladness. Your burden had been removed. The fever of hell’s torments had left your brow. Now a crown of rejoicing was in its place. Gladly, that day you swore allegiance to this Great Healer and promised Him your life in undying gratitude.

But has gratitude lost its power? Then return to Calvary and see this Great Physician work His medicine. This is what grace does. It lifts your gaze off of you, and fixes it upon the wounded, yet victorious, King. Watch Him suffer your hell, your pain, and your debt. He gave Himself, His wealth, His glory, His home and was reduced to the poverty of a world in rebellion, a world convulsing in its painful delirium of rejecting the only One who could truly love it. He was despised and rejected by His Father so that the same could love you. He was crowned with thorns so that you can be crowned with glory. This is Jesus, and this is our Master.

I ask you, if Jesus would do this to gain us, now that you’re His, why would He not treat you equally well? Let earthly treasure go, it cannot compete with this kind of love. It is not yours anyhow. You have been given heaven’s treasure. Let this life go and you will still live because you have been given life eternal .

This is the foundation of New Covenant giving. This is the soil from which germinates the Christian’s giving—the love of Christ. This is grace-giving.

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