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AM Bible Study Archives
"The 'Blessing Cycle' in Giving"
2 Corinthians 9:9-15
Wednesday AM Bible Study
October 29, 2008
Having articulated in verses 1-8 the "blessings" that come from giving, Paul now affirms the blessing that comes upon those who give.
A good way to see this morning's passage is in terms of the four personalities involved. In a temporal sense, there is (1) the Corinthians who give, (2) the Apostle through whom the gift is given, and (3) the saints to who receive the gift. And above it all, in an ultimate sense, there is (4) the God who Himself is the great Giver. When we see these different entities in relation to one another in this passage, we discover a wonderful "cycle of blessing" that prevails, by the hand of God, over the whole matter of giving within the body of Christ.
I. IT BEGINS WITH GOD (vv. 9-10a).
Paul quotes from Psalm 112: 9; which speaks of the blessedness of the God-fearing man. Among the blessings is that, first, "he disperses abroad" (which speaks of his generosity); second, that he "gives to the poor" (which speaks of the result of his generous act); and third, that "his righteousness endures forever" (which speaks of the ongoing blessing of God—both on the gift, and on the supply to the giver). Note then that Paul thus points to God as the beginning-point of the cycle. He is the one from whom all good things originate (James 1:17). Paul puts this in practical terms in his blessing by pointing out that God is the one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food. As such, He is also able to provide all that is needed for the Corinthians to give.
II. GOD SUPPLIES AN ABUNDANCE TO THE GIVER (vv. 10b-11).
God is able to "supply and multiply" the "seed" of the Corinthians (that is, the ability to give), and also "increase the fruits" of their righteousness (that is, the enabling of the gift to benefit of the recipient fully). No Christian giving can be of any good unless God is recognized as the first Giver and the sovereign Sustainer. What's more, God's rich blessings abide on the faithful giver. The Corinthians themselves are "enriched in everything for all liberality" (or "generosity"). God is able to to bless the faithful giver with an abundance, so that they have an abundance from which to give. As a part of the "supply", God also gave Paul and his co-workers as those by whose hands the gift is given. They become the extension of the Corinthian's own generosity; so that Paul is able to say that their generosity "causes thanksgiving through us to God" (v. 11b).
III. THE GIFT RESULTS IN THANKS TO GOD FROM THE RECIPIENT (vv. 12-13).
The administration of this "service" (that is, the giving of the gift from the Corinthians by the hand of Paul), has a wonderfully practical result. It results in the meeting of the need of the saints. God could have met their need by His own hand; but He chooses instead—for His own glory—to meet the need through the hands of others of His people (v. 12a). But another result is that the saints, thus provided for, abundantly thank God (v. 12b-13). Paul says that as a result of "the proof of this ministry" (that is, the actual demonstration of the work of God in the lives of the Corinthians through the gift) is that they glorify God for their obedience to the confession of their faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The giving of the gift gives evidence of the transformation of their lives. And it also results in thanks to God for the generosity that they exhibit in sharing with the needy saints "and all men". This helps us appreciate why God chooses to use His saints to meet the needs of others of His saints. By this cooperative work, God is further glorified by the way His people are involved in this great work.
IV. THE RECIPIENTS PRAY GOD'S FURTHER BLESSINGS ON THE GIVER (v. 14).
First, they pray for the Corinthians. Those who have received the blessing from them feel compelled to pray for God's further blessings on them (see Philippians 4:19). Second, they exhibit genuine love for those whom God has provided to them for the meeting of their need. They "long" for them because of "the exceeding grace of God" in them.
V. IT ALL REBOUNDS BACK TO GOD (v. 15).
The result is expressed by Paul—and is greatly motivating to the giver: "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" Look how much is accomplished—and how much praise belongs to God for it!
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This passage gives us a complete "world-view" approach to Christian giving. It shows us that, in the end, we are not the givers of anything. Rather, we are participants in God's act of giving. May we thus be His faithful instruments; and may all the glory go to Him!
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