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2 Corinthians 9:12

“For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.”

Love for God must never be separated from love for His people. Scripture teaches us this lesson from Genesis to Revelation, but 1 John features especially clear instruction on this point. For instance, 1 John 3:17 says, “If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” To withhold support from a fellow Christian who is truly in need is to not love that believer, and if we do not love a fellow believer, we have no love for God abiding in us.

Second Corinthians 9:12 also reveals the close connection between love for God and love for His people. As Paul nears the end of his exhortation for the Corinthian Christians to complete their donation to the impoverished Jerusalem believers, he explains the reason that the collection is so important. Through their service in providing needed funds, they will be “supplying the needs of the saints” and causing an “overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.” Note the twofold result of the successful collection in demonstrating love for the church and love for the Creator. Those Christians who are suffering greatly and are having difficulty meeting their basic needs receive a tangible expression of the Corinthians’ love when they receive funds that will meet their needs from the church in Corinth. This will lead the Jerusalemite believers to show thanksgiving to God, which will be an expression of their love for the Lord but also an expression of the Corinthians’ love for God, for love for God and His people are inseparable. By giving the believers in Jerusalem another opportunity to love God by showing their thanks, the Corinthians are showing their own desire for the love of God to increase, and only those who love God have such a longing.

As we consider Paul’s instructions here, let us ask ourselves, “Do we love God?” If we do, then we will certainly want to see love for Him increased in the church. One way we can do that is to be the means that the Lord uses to supply the real physical needs of other Christians. As they receive assistance from us, they will have yet another opportunity to praise God and have their affection for Him grow as He proves Himself once again to be their supplier. As we give to our churches’ benevolence funds, make meals for families enduring a trial, and do other such things, we are loving other believers, we are loving God, and we are helping others love the Lord as well.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

Giving to help Christians in true need is an act of worship. It reflects love of God’s people and thus love of God. Furthermore, it gives an opportunity for those who receive assistance to worship and praise God for His generosity through His people. When we take care of other believers in need, we create additional occasions for worship.

For Further Study
  • Psalm 35:10
  • Proverbs 14:31
  • James 2:8
  • 1 John 4:20–21

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From the November 2021 Issue
Nov 2021 Issue