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2 Corinthians 9:8–9

“God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, ‘He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ ”

Ephesians 5:1 gives us one of the basic aims of sanctification or growth in holiness. Paul tells us in this verse to “be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Our goal as redeemed images of our heavenly Father is to become like Him insofar as it is possible for creatures made in His image to be like Him. His character and works form the theological basis for maturing in the Christian life. If we want to know why the Lord exhorts us to do something, the simple answer is that in some way, even if we cannot understand exactly how, in doing these things we are imitating Him.

In today’s passage, we see this illustrated for the first-century Corinthian church. Paul stresses God’s bountiful goodness, noting that this abundance given to the Lord’s people makes it possible for them to abound in every good work (2 Cor. 9:8). This leads the Apostle to cite Psalm 112:9 and its teaching on the qualities of a man who fears the Lord (see Ps. 112:1). The one who fears the Lord—that is, the godly man—is the one who distributes “freely” to the poor, the one who gives generously and eagerly. But note the connection between God’s abounding grace and the godly man’s generosity. God gives abundantly, and His servant gives abundantly. The Lord’s true servants give to the needy and especially to impoverished believers because God gives. They imitate His generosity because that is part of what it means to be holy. By giving generously, we fulfill the call in Ephesians 5:1 to be imitators of God.

Psalm 112:9 also says that the righteousness of the one who gives to the poor endures forever. Our generosity is a mark of godliness and godliness is a mark of faith, the faith by which we receive the perfect righteousness of Christ forever. Thus, generosity is a result of our being set apart as righteous in Christ. Moreover, as the Psalms are the hymns of God’s righteous servants, they are the hymns of Jesus in a special way because He is the only perfectly righteous servant of God, since He never sinned and always did His Father’s will. No man has given more generously than Christ has, for no one has given His life to save people from their sin as He has. His righteousness, therefore, endures forever as an inherent quality for Him. He grants us the privilege of receiving the imputation of that righteousness by faith alone, and that faith bears the fruit of generosity.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

God abounds in grace, and in Christ Jesus this abundance is seen most clearly. In His loving goodness, God became incarnate in Christ Jesus and gave the most that could be given for the sake of our salvation. Such generosity knows no bounds for those to whom it is shown. We can never show generosity in that precise way, but we can imitate it in caring for the needs of others.

For Further Study
  • Deuteronomy 30:9
  • Psalm 31:19
  • Romans 8:32
  • Ephesians 3:20–21

Cheerful Giving

The God Who Enriches Others

Keep Reading The Kingdom of God

From the November 2021 Issue
Nov 2021 Issue